Date of Original Version




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© 2014 American Physical Society

Abstract or Description

We examine the importance of baryonic feedback effects on the matter power spectrum on small scales and the implications for the precise measurement of neutrino masses through gravitational weak lensing. Planned large galaxy surveys such as the Large Synoptic Sky Telescope and Euclid are expected to measure the sum of neutrino masses to extremely high precision, sufficient to detect nonzero neutrino masses even in the minimal mass normal hierarchy. We show that weak lensing of galaxies, while being a very good probe of neutrino masses, is extremely sensitive to baryonic feedback processes. We use publicly available results from the Overwhelmingly Large Simulations project to investigate the effects of active galactic nuclei feedback, the nature of the stellar initial mass function, and gas cooling rates on the measured weak lensing shear power spectrum. Using the Fisher matrix formalism and priors from CMB+BAO data, we show that, when one does not account for feedback, the measured neutrino mass may be substantially larger or smaller than the true mass, depending on the dominant feedback mechanism, with the mass error |Δmν| often exceeding the mass mν itself. We also consider gravitational lensing of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) and show that it is not sensitive to baryonic feedback on scales ℓ<2000, although CMB experiments that aim for sensitivities σ(mν)<0.02  eV will need to include baryonic effects in modeling the CMB lensing potential. A combination of CMB lensing and galaxy lensing can help break the degeneracy between neutrino masses and baryonic feedback processes. We conclude that future large galaxy lensing surveys such as Large Synoptic Sky Telescope and Euclid can only measure neutrino masses accurately if the matter power spectrum can be measured to similar accuracy.


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Published In

Physical Review D, 063516.