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Voronoi volume function: A new probe of cosmology and galaxy evolution

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3233-3251
Number of pages19
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Early online date21 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020


We study the Voronoi volume function (VVF) -- the distribution of cell volumes (or inverse local number density) in the Voronoi tessellation of any set of cosmological tracers (galaxies/haloes). We show that the shape of the VVF of biased tracers responds sensitively to physical properties such as halo mass, large-scale environment, substructure and redshift-space effects, making this a hitherto unexplored probe of both primordial cosmology and galaxy evolution. Using convenient summary statistics -- the width, median and a low percentile of the VVF as functions of average tracer number density -- we explore these effects for tracer populations in a suite of N-body simulations of a range of dark matter models. Our summary statistics sensitively probe primordial features such as small-scale oscillations in the initial matter power spectrum (as arise in models involving collisional effects in the dark sector), while being largely insensitive to a truncation of initial power (as in warm dark matter models). For vanilla cold dark matter (CDM) cosmologies, the summary statistics display strong evolution and redshift-space effects, and are also sensitive to cosmological parameter values for realistic tracer samples. Comparing the VVF of galaxies in the GAMA survey with that of abundance matched CDM (sub)haloes tentatively reveals environmental effects in GAMA beyond halo mass (modulo unmodelled satellite properties). Our exploratory analysis thus paves the way for using the VVF as a new probe of galaxy evolution physics as well as the nature of dark matter and dark energy.

    Research areas

  • astro-ph.CO, astro-ph.GA

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