Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Testing gravity on the largest scales with kids and friends

What are the 'dark' components of the universe?

Koen Kuijken
NWO Physical Sciences TOP-Grants for curiosity-driven research, module 1 NWO Physical Sciences TOP-Grants for curiosity-driven research, module 1

This research project aims to exploit weak gravitational lensing, galaxy clustering and redshift surveys to study the 'dark' components of the universe. It builds on our ongoing Kilo-Degree and VIKING imaging surveys (KiDS), which over 700 nights are mapping a large area in the Southern sky in 9 colours in the optical and near-IR part of the spectrum. KiDS is currently the largest cosmological lensing survey in the world. This proposal incorporates massive redshift survey data into KiDS.

The goal is (i) to build an accurate picture of the way galaxies cluster under gravity, and to compare in detail the associated peculiar motions, the dark halo masses of galaxies, and the large-scale structure in order to study the laws of gravity on the largest scales; and (ii) to produce a refined 3-dimensional map of the matter distribution with which to study the matter density power spectrum and the growth of structure, both important cosmological probes of dark matter and dark energy.

Specifically, this project will develop techniques for the joint analysis of lensing and redshift surveys; contribute to the running and design of redshift surveys of the KiDS survey area; and provide high-fidelity maps, power spectra and cosmological constraints from these surveys. In the Netherlands it will complement our gravitational lensing expertise, strengthening the observational cosmology community in the run-up to the ESA Euclid mission expected to launch early in the next decade.