Bispectrum covariance in the flat-sky limitB. Joachimi1, 2, X. Shi1, and P. Schneider1
1 Argelander-Institut für Astronomie (AIfA), Universität Bonn, Auf dem Hügel 71, 53121 Bonn, Germany
2 Department of Physics and Astronomy, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, UK
Received 16 July 2009 / Accepted 20 October 2009
Aims. To probe cosmological fields beyond the Gaussian level, three-point statistics can be used, all of which are related to the bispectrum. Hence, measurements of CMB anisotropies, galaxy clustering, and weak gravitational lensing alike have to rely upon an accurate theoretical background concerning the bispectrum and its noise properties. If only small portions of the sky are considered, it is often desirable to perform the analysis in the flat-sky limit. We aim at a formal, detailed derivation of the bispectrum covariance in the flat-sky approximation, focusing on a pure two-dimensional Fourier-plane approach.
Methods. We define an unbiased estimator of the bispectrum, which takes the average over the overlap of annuli in Fourier space, and compute its full covariance. The outcome of our formalism is compared to the flat-sky spherical harmonic approximation in terms of the covariance, the behavior under parity transformations, and the information content. We introduce a geometrical interpretation of the averaging process in the estimator, thus providing an intuitive understanding.
Results. Contrary to foregoing work, we find a difference by a factor of two between the covariances of the Fourier-plane and the spherical harmonic approach. We argue that this discrepancy can be explained by the differing behavior with respect to parity. However, in an exemplary analysis it is demonstrated that the Fisher information of both formalisms agrees to high accuracy. Via the geometrical interpretation we are able to link the normalization in the bispectrum estimator to the area enclosed by the triangle configuration at consideration as well as to the Wigner symbol, which leads to convenient approximation formulae for the covariances of both approaches.
Key words: methods: statistical -- cosmology: theory -- cosmological parameters
© ESO 2009