Journal Article

Constraining modified gravity and growth with weak lensing*

Shaun A. Thomas, Filipe B. Abdalla and Jochen Weller

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 395, issue 1, pages 197-209
Published in print May 2009 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online April 2009 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Constraining modified gravity and growth with weak lensing*

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The idea that we live in a Universe undergoing a period of acceleration is a new, yet strongly held, notion in cosmology. As this can, potentially, be explained with a modification to general relativity, we look at current cosmological data with the purpose of testing gravity. First, we constrain a phenomenological model [modified Dvali Gabadadze Porrati (mDGP)] motivated by a possible extra dimension. This is characterized by a parameter α which interpolates between α= 0[lambda cold dark matter (LCDM)] and α= 1 (the DGP model). In addition, we analyse general signatures of modified gravity given by the growth parameter γ and power spectrum parameter Σ. We utilize large angular scale (θ > 30 arcmin) weak lensing data (Canada–France–Hawaii Telescope Legacy Survey wide) in order to work in the more linear regime and then add, in combination, baryon acoustic oscillations (BAOs) and supernovae. We subsequently show that current weak-lensing data are not yet capable of constraining either model in isolation. However, we demonstrate that even at present this probe is highly beneficial, for in combination with BAOs and Supernovae we obtain α < 0.58 and 0.91 at 1σ and 2σ, respectively. Without the lensing data, no constraint is possible. This corresponds to a disfavouring of the flat DGP braneworld model at over 2σ. We highlight these are insensitive to potential systematics in the lensing data such as an underestimation of the shear at high redshift. For the growth signature γ, we show that, in combination, these probes do not yet have sufficient constraining power. Finally, we look beyond these present capabilities and demonstrate that Euclid, a future weak-lensing survey, will deeply probe the nature of gravity. A 1σ error of 0.104 is found for α(lmax= 500) whereas for the general modified signatures we forecast 1σ errors of 0.045 for γ and 0.25 for Σ0(lmax= 500), which is further tightened to 0.038 for γ and 0.069 for Σ0(lmax= 10 000).

Keywords: gravitation; gravitational lensing; cosmological parameters; cosmology: observations; cosmology: theory; large-scale structure of Universe

Journal Article.  10420 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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