Non-Gaussianity as a Probe of the Physics of the Primordial Universe and the Astrophysics of the Low Redshift Universe
A new and powerful probe of the origin and evolution of structures in the Universe has emerged and been actively developed over the last decade. In the coming decade, non-Gaussianity, i.e., the study of non-Gaussian contributions to the correlations of cosmological fluctuations, will become an important probe of both the early and the late Universe. Specifically, it will play a leading role in furthering our understanding of two fundamental aspects of cosmology and astrophysics: (i) the physics of the very early universe that created the primordial seeds for large-scale structures, and (ii) the subsequent growth of structures via gravitational instability and gas physics at later times. To date, observations of fluctuations in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) and the Large-Scale Structure of the Universe (LSS) have focused largely on the Gaussian contribution as measured by the two-point correlations (or the power spectrum) of density fluctuations. However, an even greater amount of information is contained in non-Gaussianity and a large discovery space therefore still remains to be explored. Many observational probes can be used to measure non-Gaussianity, including CMB, LSS, gravitational lensing, Lyman-alpha forest, 21-cm fluctuations, and the abundance of rare objects such as clusters of galaxies and high-redshift galaxies. Not only does the study of non-Gaussianity maximize the science return from a plethora of present and future cosmological experiments and observations, but it also carries great potential for important discoveries in the coming decade.
astro2010: The Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey
- Pub Date:
- Astrophysics - Cosmology and Extragalactic Astrophysics
- 8 pages, 1 figure. Science White Paper submitted to the Cosmology and Fundamental Physics (CFP) Science Frontier Panel of the Astro 2010 Decadal Survey (v2,v3,v4) More co-signers and references added