The impact of intrinsic alignments: Cosmological constraints from a joint analysis of cosmic shear and galaxy survey data

Donnacha Kirk, Sarah Bridle, Michael Schneider

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Constraints on cosmology from recent cosmic shear observations are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their treatment of potential systematic effects. Here we present cosmological constraints which include modelling of intrinsic alignments. We demonstrate how the results are changed for three different intrinsic alignment models, and for two different models of the cosmic shear galaxy population. We find that intrinsic alignments can either reduce or increase measurements of the fluctuation amplitude parameter σ8 depending on these decisions, and depending on the cosmic shear survey properties. This is due to the interplay between the two types of intrinsic alignment, intrinsic-intrinsic (II) and gravitational-intrinsic (GI). It has been shown that future surveys must make a careful treatment of intrinsic alignments to avoid significant biases, and that simultaneous constraints from shear-shear and shear-position correlation functions can mitigate the effects. For the first time we here combine constraints from cosmic shear surveys (shear-shear correlations) with those from 'GI' intrinsic alignment data sets (shear-position correlations). We produce updated constraints on cosmology marginalized over two free parameters in the halo model for intrinsic alignments. We find that the additional freedom is well compensated by the additional information, in that the constraints are very similar indeed to those obtained when intrinsic alignments are ignored, in terms of both best-fitting values and uncertainties. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 RAS.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1502-1515
    Number of pages13
    JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010


    • Cosmology: observations
    • Galaxies: evolution
    • Gravitational lensing: weak
    • Large-scale structure of Universe


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