Detection of the pairwise kinematic Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect with BOSS DR11 and the Atacama Cosmology Telescope
We present a new measurement of the kinematic Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect using data from the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) and the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS). Using 600 square degrees of overlapping sky area, we evaluate the mean pairwise baryon momentum associated with the positions of 50,000 bright galaxies in the BOSS DR11 Large Scale Structure catalog. A non-zero signal arises from the large-scale motions of halos containing the sample galaxies. The data fits an analytical signal model well, with the optical depth to microwave photon scattering as a free parameter determining the overall signal amplitude. We estimate the covariance matrix of the mean pairwise momentum as a function of galaxy separation, using microwave sky simulations, jackknife evaluation, and bootstrap estimates. The most conservative simulation-based errors give signal-to-noise estimates between 3.6 and 4.1 for varying galaxy luminosity cuts. We discuss how the other error determinations can lead to higher signal-to-noise values, and consider the impact of several possible systematic errors. Estimates of the optical depth from the average thermal Sunyaev-Zel'dovich signal at the sample galaxy positions are broadly consistent with those obtained from the mean pairwise momentum signal.