PhD Thesis Defenses, 2003
 
Craig Wiegert, "Constraining compact dark matter with quasar equivalent widths from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Early Data Release"
June 3, 2003
Online Materials

Scientific Advisor: Joshua A. Frieman

Cosmologically distributed compact objects with masses in the approximate range of 0.001 to 1 solar masses can amplify the continuum emission of a quasar through gravitational microlensing, without appreciably affecting its broad emission lines. This will produce a statistical excess of weak-lined quasars in the observed distribution of spectral line equivalent widths, an effect that scales with the amount of compact dark matter in the universe. Using the large flux-limited sample of quasar spectra from the Early Data Release of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), I demonstrate the absence of a strong microlensing signal. This leads to a constraint on the cosmological density of compact objects of Ωc < 0.03, relative to the critical density, on Jupiter- to solar-mass scales. I also forecast the improvements to this constraint that may be possible in a few years with the full SDSS quasar catalog.

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KICP Members: Joshua A. Frieman
KICP Students: Craig Wiegert
Scientific projects: Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS)
 
Thomas Crawford, "Mapping the Southern Polar Cap with a Balloon-borne Millimeter-wave Telescope"
June 26, 2003
Online Materials

Scientific Advisor: Stephan S. Meyer

TopHat is a balloon-borne millimeter-wave telescope designed to make a map of a 48-diameter region centered on the South Celestial Pole. The instrument consists of telescope optics, radiometer, rotational drive system, sun/earth shield, attitude and thermal sensors, and support electronics mounted on top of a 28-million cubic foot balloon, with a support gondola hanging below. The five-channel, single- pixel radiometer sits at the focus of an on-axis Cassegrain telescope with a 1-meter primary aperture. The detectors are monolithic, ion-implanted silicon bolometers, cooled to 265 mK by a sorption-pumped helium- 3 fridge. The five frequency bands have effective centers of 175, 245, 400, 460, and 630 GHz. The two lowest- frequency bands are designed to be sensitive to the 2.7 K Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), while the three highest bands are designed to monitor thermal emission from interstellar dust grains. Together with a modified Winston cone at the Cassegrain focus, the telescope optics define a beam designed to be steeper than gaussian with a full-width at half-maximum of 20', rendering TopHat in principle sensitive to fluctuations in the CMB from scales of less than a degree up to the diameter of the map (6 ≤ ℓ ≤ 600). TopHat was launched on 4 January 2001 from McMurdo Station, Antarctica as part of the NASA National Scientific Balloon Facility (NSBF) Polar Long-Duration Balloon program and observed for four sidereal days until cryogens were exhausted. An unexpected 5 tilt in the mounting platform at the top of the balloon resulted in large scan-synchronous instrumental signals which were not removable at the level necessary to make an internally consistent measurement of the CMB power spectrum. Minimum-variance maps of the data in all five channels have been made and used to measure the integrated flux from three regions in the Magellanic Clouds, using a flux analysis technique that minimizes the aforementioned instrumental contamination. When combined with data from the COBE/DIRBE instrument, these measurements provide a first look at the integrated emission from extragalactic environments with nearly uniform frequency coverage over the range of 245 to 3000 GHz.

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KICP Members: Stephan S. Meyer
KICP Students: Tom Crawford
Scientific projects: MSAM-TopHAT (TopHAT)
 
John Kovac, "Detection of polarization in the cosmic microwave background using DASI"
December 11, 2003
Online Materials

Scientific Advisor: John E. Carlstrom

The past several years have seen the emergence of a new standard cosmological model in which small temperature differences in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) on degree angular scales are understood to arise from acoustic oscillations in the hot plasma of the early universe sourced by primordial adiabatic density fluctuations. In the context of this model, recent measurements of the temperature fluctuations have led to profound conclusions about the origin, evolution and composition of the universe. Given knowledge of the temperature angular power spectrum, this theoretical framework yields a prediction for the level of the CMB polarization with essentially no free parameters. A determination of the CMB polarization would therefore provide a critical test of the underlying theoretical framework of this standard model. In this thesis, we report the detection of polarized anisotropy in the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation with the Degree Angular Scale Interferometer (DASI), located at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole research station. Observations in all four Stokes parameters were obtained within two 34 FWHM fields separated by one hour in Right Ascension. The fields were selected from the subset of fields observed with DASI in 2000 in which no point sources were detected and are located in regions of low Galactic synchrotron and dust emission. The temperature angular power spectrum is consistent with previous measurements and its measured frequency spectral index is ‑0.01 (‑0.16 to 0.14 at 68% confidence), where zero corresponds to a 2.73 K Planck spectrum. The power spectrum of the detected polarization is consistent with theoretical predictions based on the interpretation of CMB anisotropy as arising from primordial scalar adiabatic fluctuations. Specifically, E-mode polarization is detected at high confidence (4.9σ). Assuming a shape for the power spectrum consistent with previous temperature measurements, the level found for the E- mode polarization is 0.80 (0.56 to 1.10), where the predicted level given previous temperature data is 0.9 to 1.1. At 95% confidence, an upper limit of 0.59 is set to the level of B-mode polarization with the same shape and normalization as the E-mode spectrum. The TE correlation of the temperature and E- mode polarization is detected at 95% confidence, and also found to be consistent with predictions. These results provide strong validation of the standard model framework for the origin of CMB anisotropy and lend confidence to the values of the cosmological parameters that have been derived from CMB measurements.

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KICP Members: John E. Carlstrom
KICP Students: John Kovac
Scientific projects: Degree Angular Scale Interferometer (DASI)
 
David Johnston, " Measuring the galaxy-galaxy-mass three-point correlation function with weak gravitational lensing"
December 12, 2003
Online Materials

Scientific Advisor: Joshua A. Frieman

We discuss the galaxy-galaxy-mass three-point correlation function and show how to measure it with weak gravitational lensing. The method entails choosing pairs of foreground lens galaxies, rotating them to the common coordinate system defined by the axis connecting them and then constructing a mean shear map by averaging the ellipticities of background source galaxies for a large number of foreground pairs. An average mass map can be reconstructed from this shear map and this will represent the average mass distribution around pairs of galaxies. We show how this mass map is related to the projected galaxy-galaxy-mass three-point correlation function. Using a large N-body dark matter simulation populated with galaxies using the Halo Occupation Distribution (HOD) bias prescription, we compute these correlation functions, mass maps, and shear maps. The resultant mass maps are distinctly bimodal, tracing the galaxy centers and remaining anisotropic up to scales much larger than the galaxy separation. At larger scales, the shear is approximately tangential about the center of the pair but with azimuthal variation in amplitude. We estimate the signal-to-noise ratio of the reconstructed mass maps for a survey of similar depth to the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) and conclude that the galaxy-galaxy-mass three- point function should be measurable with the current SDSS weak lensing data. Measurements of this three-point function, along with galaxy-galaxy lensing and galaxy auto-correlation functions, will provide new constraints on galaxy bias models. The anisotropic shear profile around close pairs of galaxies is a prediction of cold dark matter models and may be difficult to reconcile with alternative theories of gravity without dark matter.

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KICP Members: Joshua A. Frieman
KICP Students: David Johnston
Scientific projects: Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS)