A method for measuring the bias of high-redshift galaxies from cosmic variance

Brant E. Robertson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


As deeper observations discover increasingly distant galaxies, characterizing the properties of high-redshift galaxy populations will become increasingly challenging and paramount.We present amethod formeasuring the clustering bias of high-redshift galaxies from the field-to-field scatter in their number densities induced by cosmic variance. Multiple widely separated fields are observed to provide a large number of statistically independent samples of the high-redshift galaxy population. The expected Poisson uncertainty is removed from the measured dispersion in the distribution of galaxy number counts observed across these many fields, leaving, on average, only the contribution to the scatter expected from cosmic variance. With knowledge of the Λ-cold dark matter power spectrum, the galaxy bias is then calculated from the measured cosmic variance. The results of cosmological N-body simulations can then be used to estimate the halo mass associated with the measured bias. We use Monte Carlo simulations to demonstrate that Hubble Space Telescope pure parallel programs will be able to determine galaxy bias at z ≳ 6 using this method, complementing future measurements from correlation functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L229-L234
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 20 2010


  • Galaxies: Statistics
  • Methods: Statistical
  • Surveys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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