Cross-correlations as a cosmological carbon monoxide detector

Anthony R. Pullen, Tzu Ching Chang, Olivier Doré, Adam Lidz

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We present a new procedure to measure the large-scale carbon monoxide (CO) emissions across cosmic history. As a tracer of large-scale structure (LSS), the CO gas content as a function of redshift can be quantified by its three-dimensional fluctuation power spectra. Furthermore, cross-correlating CO emission with other LSS tracers offers a way to measure the emission as a function of scale and redshift. Here we introduce the model relevant for such a cross-correlation measurement between CO and other LSS tracers, and between different CO rotational lines. We propose a novel use of cosmic microwave background (CMB) data and attempt to extract redshifted CO emissions embedded in the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) data set. We cross-correlate the all-sky WMAP7 data with LSS data sets, namely, the photometric quasar sample and the luminous red galaxy sample from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Releases 6 and 7, respectively. We are unable to detect a cross-correlation signal with either CO(1-0) or CO(2-1) lines, mainly due to the instrumental noise in the WMAP data. However, we are able to rule out models more than three times greater than our more optimistic model. We discuss the cross-correlation signal from the thermal Sunyaev-Zeldovich effect and dust as potential contaminants, and quantify their impact for our CO measurements. We discuss forecasts for current CMB experiments and a hypothetical future CO-focused experiment, and propose to cross-correlate CO temperature data with the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment Lyα-emitter sample, for which a signal-to-noise ratio of 58 is possible.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number15
    JournalAstrophysical Journal
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - May 1 2013


    • cosmology: observations
    • diffuse radiation
    • intergalactic medium
    • large-scale structure of universe

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Astronomy and Astrophysics
    • Space and Planetary Science


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