We use 5000 cosmological N-body simulations of 1 h-3 Gpc3 box for the concordance ËCDM model in order to study the sampling variances of a nonlinear matter power spectrum. We show that the non-Gaussian errors can be important even on large length scales relevant for baryon acoustic oscillations (BAOs). Our findings are the following: (1) the non-Gaussian errors degrade the cumulative signal-to-noise ratios (S/Ns) for the power spectrum amplitude by up to a factor of 2 and 4 for redshifts z = 1 and 0, respectively; (2) there is little information on the power spectrum amplitudes in the quasi-nonlinear regime, confirming the previous results; (3) the distribution of power spectrum estimators at BAO scales, among the realizations, is well approximated by a Gaussian distribution with variance that is given by the diagonal covariance component. (4) For the redshiftspace power spectrum, the degradation in S/N by non-Gaussian errors is mitigated due to nonlinear redshift distortions; (5) for an actual galaxy survey, the additional shot noise contamination compromises the cosmological information inherent in the galaxy power spectrum, but also mitigates the impact of non-Gaussian errors. The S/N is degraded by up to 30% for aWide-Field Fiber-Fed Optical Multi-Object Spectrograph-type survey; (6) the finite survey volume causes additional non-Gaussian errors via the correlations of long-wavelength fluctuations with the fluctuations we want to measure, further degrading the S/N values by about 30% even at high redshift z = 3.



Keywords and Phrases

Cosmology: theory; Large-scale structure of universe

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0004-637X; 1538-4357

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2009 The American Astronomical Society, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jul 2009

Included in

Physics Commons