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The WiggleZ Dark Energy Survey: direct constraints on blue galaxy intrinsic alignments at intermediate redshifts

Mandelbaum, Rachel and Blake, Chris and Bridle, Sarah and Abdalla, Filipe B. and Brough, Sarah and Colless, Matthew and Couch, Warrick and Croom, Scott and Davis, Tamara and Drinkwater, Michael J. and Forster, Karl and Glazebrook, Karl and Jelliffe, Ben and Jurek, Russell J. and Li, I-hui and Madore, Barry and Martin, Chris and Pimbblet, Kevin and Poole, Gregory B. and Pracy, Michael and Sharp, Rob and Wisnioski, Emily and Woods, David and Wyder, Ted (2011) The WiggleZ Dark Energy Survey: direct constraints on blue galaxy intrinsic alignments at intermediate redshifts. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 410 (2). pp. 844-859. ISSN 0035-8711. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2010.17485.x.

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Correlations between the intrinsic shapes of galaxy pairs, and between the intrinsic shapes of galaxies and the large-scale density field, may be induced by tidal fields. These correlations, which have been detected at low redshifts (z < 0.35) for bright red galaxies in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), and for which upper limits exist for blue galaxies at z ~ 0.1, provide a window into galaxy formation and evolution, and are also an important contaminant for current and future weak lensing surveys. Measurements of these alignments at intermediate redshifts (z ~ 0.6) that are more relevant for cosmic shear observations are very important for understanding the origin and redshift evolution of these alignments, and for minimizing their impact on weak lensing measurements. We present the first such intermediate-redshift measurement for blue galaxies, using galaxy shape measurements from SDSS and spectroscopic redshifts from the WiggleZ Dark Energy Survey. Our null detection allows us to place upper limits on the contamination of weak lensing measurements by blue galaxy intrinsic alignments that, for the first time, do not require significant model-dependent extrapolation from the z ~ 0.1 SDSS observations. Also, combining the SDSS and WiggleZ constraints gives us a long redshift baseline with which to constrain intrinsic alignment models and contamination of the cosmic shear power spectrum. Assuming that the alignments can be explained by linear alignment with the smoothed local density field, we find that a measurement of σ8 in a blue-galaxy dominated, CFHTLS-like survey would be contaminated by at most^(+0.02)_(−0.03) (95 per cent confidence level, SDSS and WiggleZ) or ± 0.03 (WiggleZ alone) due to intrinsic alignments. We also allow additional power-law redshift evolution of the intrinsic alignments, due to (for example) effects like interactions and mergers that are not included in the linear alignment model, and find that our constraints on cosmic shear contamination are not significantly weakened if the power-law index is less than ~2. The WiggleZ sample (unlike SDSS) has a long enough redshift baseline that the data can rule out the possibility of very strong additional evolution.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Mandelbaum, Rachel0000-0003-2271-1527
Brough, Sarah0000-0002-9796-1363
Colless, Matthew0000-0001-9552-8075
Forster, Karl0000-0001-5800-5531
Madore, Barry0000-0002-1576-1676
Martin, Chris0000-0002-8650-1644
Additional Information:© 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 RAS. Accepted 2010 August 4. Received 2010 August 4; in original form 2009 November 27. Article first published online: 5 Oct. 2010. RM was supported for the duration of this work by NASA through Hubble Fellowship grant #HST-HF-01199.02-A awarded by the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., for NASA, under contract NAS 5-26555. SLB and FBA thank the Royal Society for support in the form of a University Research Fellowship. We thank Christopher Hirata and Benjamin Joachimi for useful discussion regarding the interpretation of these results, and the anonymous referee for useful comments on the paper as a whole. We acknowledge financial support from the Australian Research Council through Discovery Project grants funding the positions of SB, MP, GP and TD. GALEX (the Galaxy Evolution Explorer) is a NASA Small Explorer, launched in April 2003.We gratefully acknowledge NASA’s support for construction, operation and science analysis for the GALEX mission, developed in cooperation with the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales of France and the Korean Ministry of Science and Technology. The WiggleZ survey would not have been possible without the dedicated work of the staff of the Anglo-Australian Observatory in the development and support of the AAOmega spectrograph, and the running of the AAT. Funding for the SDSS and SDSS-II has been provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Participating Institutions, the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Japanese Monbukagakusho, the Max Planck Society and the Higher Education Funding Council for England. The SDSS Web Site is The SDSS is managed by the Astrophysical Research Consortium for the Participating Institutions. The Participating Institutions are the American Museum of Natural History, Astrophysical Institute Potsdam, University of Basel, University of Cambridge, Case Western Reserve University, University of Chicago, Drexel University, Fermilab, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Japan Participation Group, Johns Hopkins University, the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics, the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, the Korean Scientist Group, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (LAMOST), Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Max-Planck-Institute for Astronomy (MPIA), the Max- Planck-Institute for Astrophysics (MPA), New Mexico State University, Ohio State University, University of Pittsburgh, University of Portsmouth, Princeton University, the United States Naval Observatory and the University of Washington.
Group:Space Radiation Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASA Hubble FellowshipHST-HF-01199.02-A
Space Telescope Science InstituteUNSPECIFIED
Australian Research CouncilUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:gravitational lensing: weak; galaxies: evolution; cosmology: observations; large-scale structure of Universe
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20110214-103856949
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Mandelbaum, R., Blake, C., Bridle, S., Abdalla, F. B., Brough, S., Colless, M., Couch, W., Croom, S., Davis, T., Drinkwater, M. J., Forster, K., Glazebrook, K., Jelliffe, B., Jurek, R. J., Li, I.-h., Madore, B., Martin, C., Pimbblet, K., Poole, G. B., Pracy, M., Sharp, R., Wisnioski, E., Woods, D. and Wyder, T. (2011), The WiggleZ Dark Energy Survey: direct constraints on blue galaxy intrinsic alignments at intermediate redshifts. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 410: 844–859. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2010.17485.x
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:22164
Deposited On:16 Feb 2011 23:42
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 16:03

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