The large scale inhomogeneity of the galaxy distribution

Dr. Francesco Sylos Labini

Abstract

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey is currently the largest spectroscopic survey of extragalactic objects and one of the most ambitious observational programs ever undertaken in astronomy, measuring about 1 million redshifts and thus providing a three dimensional mapping of the local universe up to a depth of several hundreds of Mpc. The main characteristic of galaxy distribution in this survey, and in the Two degree Field Galaxy redshift Survey completed few years ago, is that large scale structures have been found to extend to scales of the order of hundreds of mega parsecs. However the standard determination of a characteristic length scale, statistically describing galaxy correlations, is of only few mega parsecs: the standard explanation of this apparent mismatch is that large scale structures have small amplitude relative to the average density. We show that, in the newest galaxy samples, large scale structures are quite typical and correspond to large fluctuation in the galaxy density field, making the standard interpretation untenable. We show that the standard statistical analysis is affected by systematics which are due to inconsistent assumptions. We point out that standard theoretical models of structure formation are unable to explain the existence of the large fluctuations in the galaxy density field detected in these samples. This conclusion is reached in two ways: by considering the scale, determined by a linear perturbation analysis of a self-gravitating fluid, below which large fluctuations are expected in standard models and through the determination of statistical properties of mock galaxy catalogs generated from cosmological N-body simulations. Finally we discuss the implications of this results in relation to recent attempts to describe inhomogeneous models in general relativity and to the recent discoveries of large scale coherent bulk flows.

About the talk

The large scale inhomogeneity of the galaxy distribution
Dr. Francesco Sylos Labini
Institute for Complex Systems, CNR, Italy
Wednesday January 28, 2009
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