Difficulties Distinguishing Dark Energy from Modified Gravity via Redshift Distortions

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Simpson, Fergus
Peacock, John A.
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The bulk motion of galaxies induced by the growth of cosmic structure offers a rare opportunity to test the validity of general relativity across cosmological scales. However, modified gravity can be degenerate in its effect with the unknown values of cosmological parameters. More seriously, even the `observed' value of the RSD (redshift-space distortions) used to measure the fluctuation growth rate depends on the assumed cosmological parameters (the Alcock-Paczynski effect). We give a full analysis of these issues, showing how to combine RSD with BAO (baryon acoustic oscillations) and CMB (Cosmic Microwave Background) data, in order to obtain joint constraints on deviations from general relativity and on the equation of state of dark energy whilst allowing for factors such as non-zero curvature. In particular we note that the evolution of Omega_m(z), along with the Alcock-Paczynski effect, produces a degeneracy between the equation of state w and the modified growth parameter gamma. Typically, the total marginalized error on either of these parameters will be larger by a factor ~ 2 compared to the conditional error where one or other is held fixed. We argue that future missions should be judged by their Figure of Merit as defined in the w_p - gamma plane, and note that the inclusion of spatial curvature can degrade this value by an order of magnitude.
Comment: 7 pages, 4 figures, minor changes reflect published version
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Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics
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