Seeing patterns in noise: gigaparsec-scale 'structures' that do not violate homogeneity

Nadathur S (2013)
Monthly Notices Of The Royal Astronomical Society 434(1): 398-406.

Journal Article | Published | English

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Abstract
Clowes et al. have recently reported the discovery of a large quasar group (LQG), dubbed the Huge-LQG, at redshift z similar to 1.3 in the Data Release 7 (DR7) quasar catalogue of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. On the basis of its characteristic size similar to 500 Mpc and longest dimension > 1 Gpc, it is claimed that this structure is incompatible with large-scale homogeneity and the cosmological principle. If true, this would represent a serious challenge to the standard cosmological model. However, the homogeneity scale is an average property which is not necessarily affected by the discovery of a single large structure. I clarify this point and provide the first fractal dimension analysis of the DR7 quasar catalogue to demonstrate that it is in fact homogeneous above scales of at most 130 h(-1) Mpc, which is much less than the upper limit for Lambda cold dark matter. In addition, I show that the algorithm used to identify the Huge-LQG regularly finds even larger clusters of points, extending over Gpc scales, in explicitly homogeneous simulations of a Poisson point process with the same density as the quasar catalogue. This provides a simple null test to be applied to any cluster thus found in a real catalogue and suggests that the interpretation of LQGs as 'structures' is misleading.
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Nadathur S. Seeing patterns in noise: gigaparsec-scale 'structures' that do not violate homogeneity. Monthly Notices Of The Royal Astronomical Society. 2013;434(1):398-406.
Nadathur, S. (2013). Seeing patterns in noise: gigaparsec-scale 'structures' that do not violate homogeneity. Monthly Notices Of The Royal Astronomical Society, 434(1), 398-406.
Nadathur, S. (2013). Seeing patterns in noise: gigaparsec-scale 'structures' that do not violate homogeneity. Monthly Notices Of The Royal Astronomical Society 434, 398-406.
Nadathur, S., 2013. Seeing patterns in noise: gigaparsec-scale 'structures' that do not violate homogeneity. Monthly Notices Of The Royal Astronomical Society, 434(1), p 398-406.
S. Nadathur, “Seeing patterns in noise: gigaparsec-scale 'structures' that do not violate homogeneity”, Monthly Notices Of The Royal Astronomical Society, vol. 434, 2013, pp. 398-406.
Nadathur, S.: Seeing patterns in noise: gigaparsec-scale 'structures' that do not violate homogeneity. Monthly Notices Of The Royal Astronomical Society. 434, 398-406 (2013).
Nadathur, Seshadri. “Seeing patterns in noise: gigaparsec-scale 'structures' that do not violate homogeneity”. Monthly Notices Of The Royal Astronomical Society 434.1 (2013): 398-406.
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