Two is better than one: joint statistics of density and velocity in concentric spheres as a cosmological probe

Cora Uhlemann, Sandrine Codis*, Oliver Hahn, Christophe Pichon, Francis Bernardeau

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The analytical formalism to obtain the probability distribution functions (PDFs) of spherically-averaged cosmic densities and velocity divergences in the mildly non-linear regime is presented. A large-deviation principle is applied to those cosmic fields assuming their most likely dynamics in spheres is set by the spherical collapse model. We validate our analytical results using state-of-the-art dark matter simulations with a phase-space resolved velocity field finding a 2% percent level agreement for a wide range of velocity divergences and densities in the mildly nonlinear regime (~10Mpc/h at redshift zero), usually inaccessible to perturbation theory. From the joint PDF of densities and velocity divergences measured in two concentric spheres, we extract with the same accuracy velocity profiles and conditional velocity PDF subject to a given over/under-density which are of interest to understand the non-linear evolution of velocity flows. Both PDFs are used to build a simple but accurate maximum likelihood estimators for the redshift evolution of the variance of both the density and velocity divergence fields, which have smaller relative errors than their sample variances when non-linearities appear. Given the dependence of the velocity divergence on the growth rate, there is a significant gain in using the full knowledge of both PDFs to derive constraints on the equation of state of dark energy. Thanks to the insensitivity of the velocity divergence to bias, its PDF can be used to obtain unbiased constraints on the growth of structures ($\sigma_8$,f) or it can be combined with the galaxy density PDF to extract bias parameters.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2481-2497
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017


  • methods: analytical
  • methods: numerical
  • large-scale structure of Universe
  • cosmology: theory


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