Probing spatial homogeneity with LTB models: a detailed discussion
1 Zentrum für Astronomie der Universität Heidelberg, Institut für Theoretische Astrophysik, Albert-Ueberle-Str. 2, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
2 Sydney Institute for Astronomy, School of Physics, A28, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
Received: 8 July 2014
Accepted: 2 August 2014
Do current observational data confirm the assumptions of the cosmological principle, or is there statistical evidence for deviations from spatial homogeneity on large scales? To address these questions, we developed a flexible framework based on spherically symmetric, but radially inhomogeneous Lemaître-Tolman-Bondi (LTB) models with synchronous Big Bang. We expanded the (local) matter density profile in terms of flexible interpolation schemes and orthonormal polynomials. A Monte Carlo technique in combination with recent observational data was used to systematically vary the shape of these profiles. In the first part of this article, we reconsider giant LTB voids without dark energy to investigate whether extremely fine-tuned mass profiles can reconcile these models with current data. While the local Hubble rate and supernovae can easily be fitted without dark energy, however, model-independent constraints from the Planck 2013 data require an unrealistically low local Hubble rate, which is strongly inconsistent with the observed value; this result agrees well with previous studies. In the second part, we explain why it seems natural to extend our framework by a non-zero cosmological constant, which then allows us to perform general tests of the cosmological principle. Moreover, these extended models facilitate explorating whether fluctuations in the local matter density profile might potentially alleviate the tension between local and global measurements of the Hubble rate, as derived from Cepheid-calibrated type Ia supernovae and CMB experiments, respectively. We show that current data provide no evidence for deviations from spatial homogeneity on large scales. More accurate constraints are required to ultimately confirm the validity of the cosmological principle, however.
Key words: cosmology: theory / large-scale structure of Universe / methods: statistical
© ESO, 2014