How accurate is Limber's equation?
Institute for Astronomy, University of Edinburgh, Royal Observatory, Blackford Hill, Edinburgh EH9-3HJ, UK e-mail: email@example.com
2 Argelander-Institut für Astronomie (Founded by merging of the Institut für Astrophysik und Extraterrestrische Forschung, the Sternwarte, and the Radioastronomisches Institut der Universität Bonn.) , Universität Bonn, Auf dem Hügel 71, 53121 Bonn, Germany
Accepted: 26 July 2007
Aims.The so-called Limber equation is widely used in the literature to relate the projected angular clustering of galaxies to the spatial clustering of galaxies in an approximate way. This note gives estimates of where the regime of applicability of Limber's equation stops.
Methods.This paper revisits Limber's equation and compares its predictions to the accurate integral of which the Limber equation is an approximation for some realistic situations. Thereby, the accuracy of the approximation is quantified. Different cases of spatial correlation functions are considered.
Results.Limber's equation is accurate for small galaxy separations but breaks down beyond a certain separation that depends mainly on the ratio and to some degree on the power-law index of spatial clustering; σ is the -width of the galaxy distribution in comoving distance, and rm the mean comoving distance. Limber's equation introduces a systematic error that may be important at a scale of about a few degrees or in some cases, narrow galaxy distributions for example, even at arcmin scales. An alternative integral for such cases is given inside this paper.
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© ESO, 2007