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Towards an accurate mass function for precision cosmology


Reed, D S; Smith, R E; Potter, D; Schneider, A; Stadel, J; Moore, B (2013). Towards an accurate mass function for precision cosmology. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 431(2):1866-1882.

Abstract

Cosmological surveys aim to use the evolution of the abundance of galaxy clusters to accurately constrain the cosmological model. In the context of Λcold dark matter, we show that it is possible to achieve the required per cent level accuracy in the halo mass function with gravity-only cosmological simulations, and we provide simulation start and run parameter guidelines for doing so. Some previous works have had sufficient statistical precision, but lacked robust verification of absolute accuracy. Convergence tests of the mass function with, for example, simulation start redshift can exhibit false convergence of the mass function due to counteracting errors, potentially misleading one to infer overly optimistic estimations of simulation accuracy. Per cent level accuracy is possible if initial condition particle mapping uses second-order Lagrangian perturbation theory, and if the start epoch is between 10 and 50 expansion factors before the epoch of halo formation of interest. The mass function for haloes with fewer than ˜1000 particles is highly sensitive to simulation parameters and start redshift, implying a practical minimum mass resolution limit due to mass discreteness. The narrow range in converged start redshift suggests that it is not presently possible for a single simulation to capture accurately the cluster mass function while also starting early enough to model accurately the numbers of reionization era galaxies, whose baryon feedback processes may affect later cluster properties. Ultimately, to fully exploit current and future cosmological surveys will require accurate modelling of baryon physics and observable properties, a formidable challenge for which accurate gravity-only simulations are just an initial step.

Abstract

Cosmological surveys aim to use the evolution of the abundance of galaxy clusters to accurately constrain the cosmological model. In the context of Λcold dark matter, we show that it is possible to achieve the required per cent level accuracy in the halo mass function with gravity-only cosmological simulations, and we provide simulation start and run parameter guidelines for doing so. Some previous works have had sufficient statistical precision, but lacked robust verification of absolute accuracy. Convergence tests of the mass function with, for example, simulation start redshift can exhibit false convergence of the mass function due to counteracting errors, potentially misleading one to infer overly optimistic estimations of simulation accuracy. Per cent level accuracy is possible if initial condition particle mapping uses second-order Lagrangian perturbation theory, and if the start epoch is between 10 and 50 expansion factors before the epoch of halo formation of interest. The mass function for haloes with fewer than ˜1000 particles is highly sensitive to simulation parameters and start redshift, implying a practical minimum mass resolution limit due to mass discreteness. The narrow range in converged start redshift suggests that it is not presently possible for a single simulation to capture accurately the cluster mass function while also starting early enough to model accurately the numbers of reionization era galaxies, whose baryon feedback processes may affect later cluster properties. Ultimately, to fully exploit current and future cosmological surveys will require accurate modelling of baryon physics and observable properties, a formidable challenge for which accurate gravity-only simulations are just an initial step.

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22 citations in Web of Science®
21 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute for Computational Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:530 Physics
Language:English
Date:May 2013
Deposited On:12 Sep 2013 14:57
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:59
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0035-8711
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stt301

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