Constraining primordial non-Gaussianity with the abundance of high-redshift clusters

James Robinson, Eric Gawiser, Joseph Silk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


We show how observations of the evolution of the galaxy cluster number abundance can be used to constrain primordial non-Gaussianity in the universe. We carry out a maximum likelihood analysis incorporating a number of current data sets and accounting for a wide range of sources of systematic error. Under the assumption of Gaussianity, the current data prefer a universe with matter density Ωm ≃ 0.3 and are inconsistent with Ωm = 1 at the 2 σ level. If we assume Ωm = 1, the predicted degree of cluster evolution is consistent with the data for non-Gaussian models where the primordial fluctuations have at least twice as many peaks of height 3 σ or more as a Gaussian distribution does. These results are robust to almost all sources of systematic error considered: in particular, the Ωm = 1 Gaussian case can only be reconciled with the data if a number of systematic effects conspire to modify the analysis in the right direction. Given an independent measurement of Ωm, the techniques described here represent a powerful tool with which to constrain non-Gaussianity in the primordial universe, independent of specific details of the non-Gaussian physics. We discuss the prospects and strategies for improving the constraints with future observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART 1
StatePublished - Mar 20 2000
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Cosmology: theory
  • Galaxies: clusters: general
  • Galaxies: distances and redshifts


Dive into the research topics of 'Constraining primordial non-Gaussianity with the abundance of high-redshift clusters'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this