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Session 94 - Large-Scale Structure: Observations and Theory.
Oral session, Wednesday, January 17
Corte Real, Hilton
We examine the errors on counts in cells extracted from galaxy surveys. The measurement error, related to the finite number of sampling cells, is disentangled from the ``cosmic error'', due to the finiteness of the survey. Using the hierarchical model and assuming locally Poisson behavior, we identified three contributions to the cosmic error: The finite volume effect is proportional to the average of the two-point correlation function over the whole survey. It accounts for possible fluctuations of the density field at scales larger than the sample size. The edge effect is related to the geometry of the survey. It accounts for the fact that objects near the boundary carry less statistical weight than those further away from it. The discreteness effect is due to the fact that the underlying smooth random field is sampled with finite number of objects. This is the ``shot noise'' error. Measurements of errors in artificial hierarchical samples showed excellent agreement with our predictions. The probability distribution of errors is increasingly skewed when the order N and/or the cell size increases. The Gaussian approximation is valid only in the weakly non-linear regime, otherwise it severely underestimates the true errors. We study the concept of ``number of statistically independent cells'' This number is found to depend highly on the statistical object under study and is generally quite different from the number of cells needed to cover the survey volume. In light of these findings, we advocate high oversampling for measurements of counts in cells.
Program listing for Wednesday