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Simeon Bird (JHU) "Strong Absorbers in the Lyman-alpha Forest and Primordial Black Holes"
October 5, 2017 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Strong HI absorbers are essentially the largest foreground contamination for Lyman alpha forest surveys, and so a better understanding of them is necessary for achieving the goals of future Lyman alpha cosmology surveys. I will talk about a new automated technique for generating a probabilistic catalogue of strong absorbers for the entire survey, allowing more robust cleaning of the foreground. Since no technique can entirely remove strong absorbers, I will discuss new templates for characterising their effect on the flux power spectrum. A secondary systematic is induced by interpolation error between theoretical models, and I will discuss techniques to mitigate this error with refining Gaussian Process emulators. Lastly I will discuss the interesting possibility that the surprisingly common mergers of ~30 solar mass black holes observed by LIGO could be primordial black hole dark matter, which is intriguingly (still) not convincingly ruled out.