Planck and re-ionization history: a model selection view

Mukherjee, Pia and Liddle, Andrew R (2008) Planck and re-ionization history: a model selection view. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 389 (1). pp. 231-236. ISSN 0035-8711

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We use Bayesian model selection tools to forecast the Planck satellite's ability to distinguish between different models for the re-ionization history of the Universe, using the large angular scale signal in the cosmic microwave background polarization spectrum. We find that Planck is not expected to be able to distinguish between an instantaneous re-ionization model and a two-parameter smooth re-ionization model, except for extreme values of the additional re-ionization parameter. If it cannot, then it will be unable to distinguish between different two-parameter models either. However, Bayesian model averaging will be needed to obtain unbiased estimates of the optical depth to re-ionization. We also generalize our results to a hypothetical future cosmic variance limited microwave anisotropy survey, where the outlook is more optimistic.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Physics and Astronomy
Depositing User: Pia Mukherjee
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 18:35
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 20:49

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