We report on the AAT-AAOmega LRG Pilot observing run to establish the feasibility of a large spectroscopic survey using the new AAOmega instrument. We have selected luminous red galaxies (LRGs) using single epoch SDSS riz-photometry to i < 20.5 and z < 20.2. We have observed in three fields including the COSMOS field and the COMBO-17 S11 field, obtaining a sample of ∼600 redshift z≳ 0.5 LRGs. Exposure times varied from 1–4 h to determine the minimum exposure for AAOmega to make an essentially complete LRG redshift survey in average conditions. We show that LRG redshifts to i < 20.5 can be measured in ≈1.5 h exposures and present comparisons with 2SLAQ and COMBO-17 (photo)redshifts. Crucially, the riz selection coupled with the three to four times improved AAOmega throughput is shown to extend the LRG mean redshift from z= 0.55 for 2SLAQ to z= 0.681 ± 0.005 for riz-selected LRGs. This extended range is vital for maximizing the signal-to-noise ratio for the detection of the baryon acoustic oscillations (BAOs). Furthermore, we show that the amplitude of LRG clustering is s0= 9.9 ± 0.7h−1Mpc, as high as that seen in the 2SLAQ LRG Survey. Consistent results for this clustering amplitude are found from the projected and semi-projected correlation functions. This high amplitude is consistent with a long-lived population whose bias evolves as predicted by a simple ‘high-peak’ model. We conclude that a redshift survey of 360 000 LRGs over 3000 deg2, with an effective volume some four times bigger than previously used to detect BAO with LRGs, is possible with AAOmega in 170 nights.
Keywords: surveys; galaxies: statistics; cosmology: observations; large-scale structure of Universe
Journal Article. 8301 words. Illustrated.
Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics
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