Super-sample covariance approximations and partial sky coverage
Département de Physique Théorique, Université de Genève,
24 quai Ernest Ansermet,
2 Departamento de Física Matemática, Instituto de Física, Universidade de São Paulo, CP 66318, CEP 05314-970, São Paulo-SP, Brazil
Accepted: 1 December 2017
Super-sample covariance (SSC) is the dominant source of statistical error on large scale structure (LSS) observables for both current and future galaxy surveys. In this work, we concentrate on the SSC of cluster counts, also known as sample variance, which is particularly useful for the self-calibration of the cluster observable-mass relation; our approach can similarly be applied to other observables, such as galaxy clustering and lensing shear. We first examined the accuracy of two analytical approximations proposed in the literature for the flat sky limit, finding that they are accurate at the 15% and 30–35% level, respectively, for covariances of counts in the same redshift bin. We then developed a harmonic expansion formalism that allows for the prediction of SSC in an arbitrary survey mask geometry, such as large sky areas of current and future surveys. We show analytically and numerically that this formalism recovers the full sky and flat sky limits present in the literature. We then present an efficient numerical implementation of the formalism, which allows fast and easy runs of covariance predictions when the survey mask is modified. We applied our method to a mask that is broadly similar to the Dark Energy Survey footprint, finding a non-negligible negative cross-z covariance, i.e. redshift bins are anti-correlated. We also examined the case of data removal from holes due to, for example bright stars, quality cuts, or systematic removals, and find that this does not have noticeable effects on the structure of the SSC matrix, only rescaling its amplitude by the effective survey area. These advances enable analytical covariances of LSS observables to be computed for current and future galaxy surveys, which cover large areas of the sky where the flat sky approximation fails.
Key words: large-scale structure of Universe / methods: analytical
© ESO 2018