Journal Article

Light-cone distortion of the clustering and abundance of massive galaxies at high redshifts

Joseph A. Muñoz and Abraham Loeb

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 386, issue 4, pages 2323-2329
Published in print June 2008 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online April 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Light-cone distortion of the clustering and abundance of massive galaxies at high redshifts

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Observational surveys of galaxies are not trivially related to single-epoch snapshots from computer simulations. Observationally, an increase in the distance along the line of sight corresponds to an earlier cosmic time at which the properties of the surveyed galaxy population may change. The effect of observing a survey volume along the light cone must be considered in the regime where the mass function of galaxies varies exponentially with redshift. This occurs when the haloes under consideration are rare, that is either when they are very massive or observed at high redshift. While the effect of the light cone is negligible for narrow-band surveys of Lyα emitters, it can be significant for dropout surveys of Lyman-break galaxies (LBGs) where the selection functions of the photometric bands are broad. Since there are exponentially more haloes at the low-redshift end of the survey, the low-redshift tail of the selection function contains a disproportionate fraction of the galaxies observed in the survey. This leads to a redshift probability distribution for the dropout LBGs with a mean less than that of the photometric selection function (PHSF) by an amount of order the standard deviation of the PHSF. The inferred mass function of galaxies is then shallower than the true mass function at a single redshift with the abundance at the high-mass end being twice or more as large as expected. Moreover, the statistical moments of the count of galaxies calculated ignoring the light-cone effect deviate from the actual values.

Keywords: galaxies: high-redshift; cosmology: theory

Journal Article.  4695 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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