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Fine Observations of the Rate of Cosmic Expansion: Combining the powers of Weak Gravitational Lensing and Baryon Acoustic Oscillations as Probes of Dark Energy

Objective

I propose to combine state-of-the-art observations of weak gravitational lensing and baryon acoustic oscillations to answer one fundamental question; is the accelerating expansion of our Universe caused by dark energy, or is it a manifestation of beyond-Einstein gravity theories, as might arise if the Universe has more dimensions? This frontier research will have a wide ranging impact as is it believed that understanding the dark energy phenomenon will revolutionize our understanding of Physics today. The observational task of detecting and analysing probes of dark energy is technically very challenging and may be subject to systematic limits. I detail how I will exploit synergies between the weak lensing and baryon acoustic oscillations techniques, showing that the physical systematics that effect each technique can be neatly resolved using complementary information from the alternative technique. With support from the ERC I will create an inter-disciplinary team well positioned to first solve many of the systematic problems associated with dark energy research and then apply those novel solutions to the dark energy analysis of three world-leading wide-field surveys that I currently co-investigate; CFHTLS, a recently completed 170 square degree ugriz survey, PanSTARRS-1, a soon to be started all-sky grizy survey and ADEPT, a space-based infra-red telescope for baryon acoustic oscillation studies proposed for NASA s Joint Dark Energy Mission. Using innovative 3D statistical analyses, optimised photometric redshifts and new combined lensing and galaxy clustering statistics, my ERC team will aim to control systematic errors to place joint constraints on the evolving nature of dark energy and test directly beyond-Einstein gravity.

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/physical sciences/astronomy/astrophysics/dark matter

Call for proposal

ERC-2009-StG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-SG - ERC Starting Grant

Host institution

THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH
Address
Old College, South Bridge
EH8 9YL Edinburgh
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 1 258 797
Principal investigator
Catherine Elizabeth Cox Heymans (Dr.)
Administrative Contact
Angela Noble (Ms.)

Beneficiaries (1)

THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 1 258 797
Address
Old College, South Bridge
EH8 9YL Edinburgh
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Principal investigator
Catherine Elizabeth Cox Heymans (Dr.)
Administrative Contact
Angela Noble (Ms.)