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Eigenmode analysis of perturbations in the primordial medium at and before recombination

Nelson, A. H. 2022. Eigenmode analysis of perturbations in the primordial medium at and before recombination. Astronomy & Astrophysics 661 , A84. 10.1051/0004-6361/202039978

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Context. Anisotropies of the cosmic microwave background are thought to be due to perturbations of the primordial medium, which, post recombination, lead to the formation of galaxy clusters and galaxies Aims. The perturbation wave modes of the primordial medium at and before recombination, consisting of a fully ionised baryonic plasma, a strong black body radiation field, and cold dark matter, are analysed. Methods. We use the linear perturbation theory of the relativistic equations of motion, utilising a strict thermodynamic equilibrium model that relates the radiation energy density to the plasma temperature. Results. It is shown that a wave mode corresponding to the postulated baryon acoustic waves exists with a phase velocity close to the speed of light, but the participation of the dark matter in this mode is very small. Instead, the dark matter has its own dominant mode in the form of gravitational collapse, with very little participation by the baryonic plasma. Conclusions. In view of this very weak coupling between baryons and dark matter, the initial conditions postulated for computer simulations of large-scale structure and galaxy formation – which assume that after recombination, when galaxy formation is getting underway, baryon and dark matter density perturbations are spatially coincident and are equal in terms of fractional amplitude – may be unjustified. Additionally, the possible non-coincidence of baryon and dark matter perturbations at the last scattering surface has implications for the analysis of cosmic microwave background anisotropies.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Publisher: EDP Sciences
ISSN: 0004-6361
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 19 May 2022
Date of Acceptance: 16 February 2022
Last Modified: 20 May 2022 14:00

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