Cosmological implications of baryon acoustic oscillation measurements

(BOSS Collaboration)

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We derive constraints on cosmological parameters and tests of dark energy models from the combination of baryon acoustic oscillation (BAO) measurements with cosmic microwave background (CMB) data and a recent reanalysis of Type Ia supernova (SN) data. In particular, we take advantage of high-precision BAO measurements from galaxy clustering and the Lyman-α forest (LyaF) in the SDSS-III Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS). Treating the BAO scale as an uncalibrated standard ruler, BAO data alone yield a high confidence detection of dark energy; in combination with the CMB angular acoustic scale they further imply a nearly flat universe. Adding the CMB-calibrated physical scale of the sound horizon, the combination of BAO and SN data into an "inverse distance ladder" yields a measurement of H0=67.3±1.1 km s-1 Mpc-1, with 1.7% precision. This measurement assumes standard prerecombination physics but is insensitive to assumptions about dark energy or space curvature, so agreement with CMB-based estimates that assume a flat ΛCDM cosmology is an important corroboration of this minimal cosmological model. For constant dark energy (Λ), our BAO+SN+CMB combination yields matter density Ωm=0.301±0.008 and curvature Ωk=-0.003±0.003. When we allow more general forms of evolving dark energy, the BAO+SN+CMB parameter constraints are always consistent with flat ΛCDM values at ≈1σ. While the overall χ2 of model fits is satisfactory, the LyaF BAO measurements are in moderate (2-2.5σ) tension with model predictions. Models with early dark energy that tracks the dominant energy component at high redshift remain consistent with our expansion history constraints, and they yield a higher H0 and lower matter clustering amplitude, improving agreement with some low redshift observations. Expansion history alone yields an upper limit on the summed mass of neutrino species, mν<0.56 eV (95% confidence), improving to mν<0.25 eV if we include the lensing signal in the Planck CMB power spectrum. In a flat ΛCDM model that allows extra relativistic species, our data combination yields Neff=3.43±0.26; while the LyaF BAO data prefer higher Neff when excluding galaxy BAO, the galaxy BAO alone favor Neff≈3. When structure growth is extrapolated forward from the CMB to low redshift, standard dark energy models constrained by our data predict a level of matter clustering that is high compared to most, but not all, observational estimates.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number123516
    JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
    Issue number12
    StatePublished - Dec 14 2015

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
    • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Cosmological implications of baryon acoustic oscillation measurements'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this