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Towards testing the theory of gravity with DESI: summary statistics, model predictions and future simulation requirements

Alam, Shadab; Arnold, Christian; Aviles, Alejandro; Bean, Rachel; Cai, Yan-Chuan; Cautun, Marius; Cervantes-Cota, Jorge L.; Cuesta-Lazaro, Carolina; Chandrachani Devi, N.; Eggemeier, Alexander; Fromenteau, Sebastien; Gonzalez-Morales, Alma X.; Halenka, Vitali; He, Jian-hua; Hellwing, Wojciech A.; Hernandez-Aguayo, Cesar; Ishak, Mustapha; Koyama, Kazuya; Li, Baojiu; de la Macorra, Axel; Menesses Rizo, Jennifer; Miller, Christopher; Mueller, Eva-Maria; Niz, Gustavo; Ntelis, Pierros; Rodriguez Otero, Matias; Sabiu, Cristiano G.; Slepian, Zachary; Stark, Alejo; Valenzuela, Octavio; Valogiannis, Georgios; Vargas-Magana, Mariana; Winther, Hans A.; Zarrouk, Pauline; Zhao, Gong-Bo; Zheng, Yi

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Shadab Alam

Christian Arnold

Alejandro Aviles

Rachel Bean

Yan-Chuan Cai

Marius Cautun

Jorge L. Cervantes-Cota

Carolina Cuesta-Lazaro

N. Chandrachani Devi

Alexander Eggemeier

Sebastien Fromenteau

Alma X. Gonzalez-Morales

Vitali Halenka

Jian-hua He

Wojciech A. Hellwing

Cesar Hernandez-Aguayo

Mustapha Ishak

Kazuya Koyama

Axel de la Macorra

Jennifer Menesses Rizo

Christopher Miller

Eva-Maria Mueller

Gustavo Niz

Pierros Ntelis

Matias Rodriguez Otero

Cristiano G. Sabiu

Zachary Slepian

Alejo Stark

Octavio Valenzuela

Georgios Valogiannis

Mariana Vargas-Magana

Hans A. Winther

Pauline Zarrouk

Gong-Bo Zhao

Yi Zheng


Shortly after its discovery, General Relativity (GR) was applied to predict the behavior of our Universe on the largest scales, and later became the foundation of modern cosmology. Its validity has been verified on a range of scales and environments from the Solar system to merging black holes. However, experimental confirmations of GR on cosmological scales have so far lacked the accuracy one would hope for -- its applications on those scales being largely based on extrapolation and its validity sometimes questioned in the shadow of the unexpected cosmic acceleration. Future astronomical instruments surveying the distribution and evolution of galaxies over substantial portions of the observable Universe, such as the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI), will be able to measure the fingerprints of gravity and their statistical power will allow strong constraints on alternatives to GR. In this paper, based on a set of N-body simulations and mock galaxy catalogs, we study the predictions of a number of traditional and novel estimators beyond linear redshift distortions in two well-studied modified gravity models, chameleon f(R) gravity and a braneworld model, and the potential of testing these deviations from GR using DESI. These estimators employ a wide array of statistical properties of the galaxy and the underlying dark matter field, including two-point and higher-order statistics, environmental dependence, redshift space distortions and weak lensing. We find that they hold promising power for testing GR to unprecedented precision. The major future challenge is to make realistic, simulation-based mock galaxy catalogs for both GR and alternative models to fully exploit the statistic power of the DESI survey and to better understand the impact of key systematic effects. Using these, we identify future simulation and analysis needs for gravity tests using DESI.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 7, 2021
Online Publication Date Nov 25, 2021
Publication Date 2021-11
Deposit Date Oct 27, 2021
Publicly Available Date Jan 14, 2022
Journal Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
Publisher IOP Publishing
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 11
Article Number 050
Public URL
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Copyright Statement
2021 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing
Ltd on behalf of Sissa Medialab. Original content from
this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons
Attribution 4.0 licence. Any further distribution of this work must
maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work,
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