CosmosClub: Ariel Sánchez (09/07/20)

CosmosClub Ariel Sánchez

Date: July 9th 2020, 10.00 a.m.

Speaker: Ariel Sánchez (MPE Garching/ Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik )

Title:   Let us bury the prehistoric h: arguments against using h1Mpc units in observational cosmology

Room: Zoom Meeting (connection details will be updated soon)


It is common to express cosmological measurements in units of h^-1 Mpc. Here, we review some of the complications that originate from this practice. A crucial problem caused by these units is related to the normalization of the matter power spectrum, which is commonly characterized in terms of the linear-theory rms mass fluctuation in spheres of radius 8h^-1 Mpc, σ8. This parameter does not correctly capture the impact of h on the amplitude of density fluctuations. We show that the use of σ8 has caused critical misconceptions for both the so-called σ8 tension regarding the consistency between low-redshift probes and cosmic microwave background data, and the way in which growth-rate estimates inferred from redshift-space distortions are commonly expressed. We propose to abandon the use of h^1 Mpc units in cosmology and to characterize the amplitude of the matter power spectrum in terms of σ12, defined as the mass fluctuation in spheres of radius 12Mpc, whose value is similar to the standard σ8 for h0.67.