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Sparse Sampling of Sky

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The next generation of galaxy surveys will observe millions of galaxies over large volumes of the universe. These surveys are expensive both in time and cost, raising questions regarding optimal investment of this time and money. In this work we investigate criteria for selecting amongst observing strategies for constraining the galaxy power spectrum and a set of cosmological parameters. Depending on the parameters of interest, it may be more efficient to observe a larger, but sparsely sampled, area of sky instead of a smaller contiguous area. In this work, by making use of the principles of Bayesian Experimental Design, we will investigate the advantages and disadvantages of the sparse sampling of the sky and discuss the circumstances in which a sparse survey is indeed the most efficient strategy. For the Dark Energy Survey (DES), we find that by sparsely observing the same area in a smaller amount of time, we only increase the errors on the parameters by a maximum of 0.4%. Conversely, investing the same amount of time as the original DES to observe a sparser but larger area of sky we can in fact constrain the parameters with errors reduced by 28%.

This talk is part of the Cavendish Astrophysics Seminars series.

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