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Published April 20, 2011 | Published
Journal Article Open

The Nonlinear Biasing of the zCOSMOS Galaxies up to z ~ 1 from the 10k Sample


We use the zCOSMOS galaxy overdensity field to study the biasing of galaxies in the COSMOS field. By comparing the probability distribution function of the galaxy density contrast δ_g to the lognormal approximation of the mass density contrast δ, we obtain the mean biasing function b(δ, z, R) between the galaxy and matter overdensity fields and its second moments and . Over the redshift interval 0.4 < z < 1 the conditional mean function (δ_g|δ) = b(δ, z, R)δ is of a characteristic shape, requiring nonlinear biasing in the most overdense and underdense regions. Taking into account the uncertainties due to cosmic variance, we do not detect any significant evolution in the (δ_g|δ) function, but we do detect a significant redshift evolution in the linear biasing parameter b from 1.23 ± 0.11 at z ~ 0.55 to 1.62 ± 0.14 at z ~ 0.75, for a luminosity-complete sample of M_B < –20 – z galaxies. The b parameter does not change significantly with smoothing scale between 8 and 12 h^(–1) Mpc, but increases systematically with luminosity (at 2σ-3σ significance between the M_B < –20.5 – z and M_B < –20 – z samples). The nonlinearity parameter b/b is offset from unity by at most 2%, with an uncertainty of the same order. The b/b parameter does not show any significant redshift evolution, dependence on the smoothing scale or on the luminosity. By matching the linear bias of galaxies to the halo bias, we infer that the M_B < –20 – z galaxies reside in dark matter halos with a characteristic mass of about (2.6 – 5.6) × 10^(12) M_⊙ with a small dependence on the adopted bias-mass relation. Our detailed error analysis and comparison with previous studies lead us to conclude that cosmic variance is the main contributor to the differences in the linear bias measured from different surveys. While our results support the general picture of biased galaxy formation up to z ~ 1, the fine-tuning of the galaxy formation models is still limited by the restrictions of the current spectroscopic surveys at these redshifts.

Additional Information

© 2011 American Astronomical Society. Received 2009 September 8; accepted 2011 January 28; published 2011 March 30. Based on observations obtained at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT), Paranal, Chile, as part of the Large Program 175.A-0839 (the zCOSMOS Spectroscopic Redshift Survey). We thank Annalisa Pillepich for useful discussions. We also thank M. G. Kitzbichler and S. D. M. White for providing the mock catalogs (Kitzbichler & White 2007). This work has been supported in part by a grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation and an ASI grant ASI/COFIS/WP3110I/026/07/0.

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