The lensing and temperature imprints of voids on the cosmic microwave background

Yan-Chuan Cai, Mark C. Neyrinck, Qingqing Mao, John A. Peacock, Istvan Szapudi, Andreas Berlind

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have searched for the signature of cosmic voids in the cosmic microwave background (CMB), in both the Planck temperature and lensing-convergence maps; voids should give decrements in both. We use ZOBOV voids from the Data Release 12 Sloan Digital Sky Survey CMASS galaxy sample. We base our analysis on N-body simulations, to avoid a posteriori bias. For the first time, we detect the signature of voids in CMB lensing: the significance is 3.2σ, close to Λ cold dark matter (ΛCDM) in both amplitude and projected density-profile shape. A temperature dip is also seen, at modest significance (2.3σ), with an amplitude about six times the prediction. This temperature signal is induced mostly by voids with radii between 100 and 150 h-1 Mpc, while the lensing signal is mostly contributed by smaller voids - as expected; lensing relates directly to density, while integrated Sachs-Wolfe effect (ISW) depends on gravitational potential. The void abundance in observations and simulations agree as well. We also repeated the analysis excluding lower significance voids: no lensing signal is detected with an upper limit of about twice the ΛCDM prediction. But the mean temperature decrement now becomes non-zero at the 3.7σ level (similar to that found by Granett et al.), with an amplitude about 20 times the prediction. However, the observed dependence of temperature on void size is in poor agreement with simulations, whereas the lensing results are consistent with ΛCDM theory. Thus, the overall tension between theory and observations does not favour non-standard theories of gravity, despite the hints of an enhanced amplitude for the ISW effect from voids.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3364-3375
Number of pages12
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Early online date17 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017


  • gravitational lensing: weak
  • methods: observational
  • cosmic background radiation
  • large-scale structure of Universe


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