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Durham University

Department of Physics

Staff profile

Publication details for Prof Richard Bower

Hellwing, W. A., Schaller, M., Frenk, C. S., Theuns, T., Schaye, J., Bower, R. G. & Crain, R. A. (2016). The effect of baryons on redshift space distortions and cosmic density and velocity fields in the EAGLE simulation. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (Letters) 461(1): L11-L15.

Author(s) from Durham


We use the Evolution and Assembly of GaLaxies and their Environments (EAGLE) galaxy formation simulation to study the effects of baryons on the power spectrum of the total matter and dark matter distributions and on the velocity fields of dark matter and galaxies. On scales k ≳ 4 h Mpc−1 the effect of baryons on the amplitude of the total matter power spectrum is greater than 1 per cent. The back-reaction of baryons affects the density field of the dark matter at the level of ∼3 per cent on scales of 1 ≤ k/( h Mpc−1) ≤ 5. The dark matter velocity divergence power spectrum at k ≲ 0.5 h Mpc−1 is changed by less than 1 per cent. The 2D redshift space power spectrum is affected at the level of ∼6 per cent at |k|≳1hMpc−1|k|≳1hMpc−1 (for μ > 0.5), but for |k|≤0.4hMpc−1|k|≤0.4hMpc−1 it differs by less than 1 per cent. We report vanishingly small baryonic velocity bias for haloes: the peculiar velocities of haloes with M200 > 3 × 1011 M⊙ (hosting galaxies with M* > 109 M⊙) are affected at the level of at most 1 km s−1, which is negligible for 1 per cent-precision cosmology. We caution that since EAGLE overestimates cluster gas fractions it may also underestimate the impact of baryons, particularly for the total matter power spectrum. Nevertheless, our findings suggest that for theoretical modelling of redshift space distortions and galaxy velocity-based statistics, baryons and their back-reaction can be safely ignored at the current level of observational accuracy. However, we confirm that the modelling of the total matter power spectrum in weak lensing studies needs to include realistic galaxy formation physics in order to achieve the accuracy required in the precision cosmology era.