Angular correlation function of 1.5 million luminous red galaxies: clustering evolution and a search for baryon acoustic oscillations

Sawangwit, U.; Shanks, T.; Abdalla, F. B.; Cannon, R. D.; Croom, S. M.; Edge, A. C.; Ross, Nicholas P. and Wake, D. A. (2011). Angular correlation function of 1.5 million luminous red galaxies: clustering evolution and a search for baryon acoustic oscillations. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 416(4) pp. 3033–3056.



We present the angular correlation function measured from photometric samples comprising 1562 800 luminous red galaxies (LRGs). Three LRG samples were extracted from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) imaging data, based on colour-cut selections at redshifts, z≈ 0.35, 0.55 and 0.7 as calibrated by the spectroscopic surveys, SDSS-LRG, 2dF-SDSS LRG and QSO (quasi-stellar object) (2SLAQ) and the AAΩ-LRG survey. The galaxy samples cover ≈7600 deg2 of sky, probing a total cosmic volume of ≈5.5 h−3 Gpc3.

The small- and intermediate-scale correlation functions generally show significant deviations from a single power-law fit with a well-detected break at ≈1 h−1 Mpc, consistent with the transition scale between the one- and two-halo terms in halo occupation models. For galaxy separations 1–20 h−1 Mpc and at fixed luminosity, we see virtually no evolution of the clustering with redshift and the data are consistent with a simple high peaks biasing model where the comoving LRG space density is constant with z. At fixed z, the LRG clustering amplitude increases with luminosity in accordance with the simple high peaks model, with a typical LRG dark matter halo mass 1013–1014 h−1 M. For r < 1 h−1 Mpc, the evolution is slightly faster and the clustering decreases towards high redshift consistent with a virialized clustering model. However, assuming the halo occupation distribution (HOD) and Λ cold dark matter (ΛCDM) halo merger frameworks, ~2–3 per cent/Gyr of the LRGs are required to merge in order to explain the small scales clustering evolution, consistent with previous results.

At large scales, our result shows good agreement with the SDSS-LRG result of Eisenstein et al. but we find an apparent excess clustering signal beyond the baryon acoustic oscillations (BAO) scale. Angular power spectrum analyses of similar LRG samples also detect a similar apparent large-scale clustering excess but more data are required to check for this feature in independent galaxy data sets. Certainly, if the ΛCDM model were correct then we would have to conclude that this excess was caused by systematics at the level of Δw≈ 0.001–0.0015 in the photometric AAΩ-LRG sample.

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