Journal article

Cosmological implications of baryon acoustic oscillation measurements

Aubourg, Eric; Bailey, Stephen; Bautista, Julian E.; Beutler, Florian; Bhardwaj, Vaishali; Bizyaev, Dmitry; Blanton, Michael; Blomqvist, Michael; Bolton, Adam S.; Bovy, Jo

BOSS Collaboration

We derive constraints on cosmological parameters and tests of dark energy models from the combination of baryon acoustic oscillation (BAO) measurements with cosmic microwave background (CMB) data and a recent reanalysis of Type Ia supernova (SN) data. In particular, we take advantage of high-precision BAO measurements from galaxy clustering and the Lyman-alpha forest (LyaF) in the SDSS-III Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS). Treating the BAO scale as an uncalibrated standard ruler, BAO data alone yield a high confidence detection of dark energy; in combination with the CMB angular acoustic scale they further imply a nearly flat universe. Adding the CMB-calibrated physical scale of the sound horizon, the combination of BAO and SN data into an "inverse distance ladder" yields a measurement of H-0 = 67.3 +/- 1.1 km s(-1) Mpc(-1), with 1.7% precision. This measurement assumes standard prerecombination physics but is insensitive to assumptions about dark energy or space curvature, so agreement with CMB-based estimates that assume a flat Lambda CDM cosmology is an important corroboration of this minimal cosmological model. For constant dark energy (Lambda), our BAO + SN + CMB combination yields matter density Omega(m) = 0.301 +/- 0.008 and curvature Omega(k) = -0.003 +/- 0.003. When we allow more general forms of evolving dark energy, the BAO + SN + CMB parameter constraints are always consistent with flat Lambda CDM values at approximate to 1 sigma. While the overall chi(2) of model fits is satisfactory, the LyaF BAO measurements are in moderate (2-2.5 sigma) tension with model predictions. Models with early dark energy that tracks the dominant energy component at high redshift remain consistent with our expansion history constraints, and they yield a higher H-0 and lower matter clustering amplitude, improving agreement with some low redshift observations. Expansion history alone yields an upper limit on the summed mass of neutrino species, Sigma m(nu) < 0.56 eV (95% confidence), improving to Sigma m(nu) < 0.25 eV if we include the lensing signal in the Planck CMB power spectrum. In a flat Lambda CDM model that allows extra relativistic species, our data combination yields N-eff = 3.43 +/- 0.26; while the LyaF BAO data prefer higher N-eff when excluding galaxy BAO, the galaxy BAO alone favor N-eff approximate to 3. When structure growth is extrapolated forward from the CMB to low redshift, standard dark energy models constrained by our data predict a level of matter clustering that is high compared to most, but not all, observational estimates.


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