The high-redshift star formation history from carbon-monoxide intensity maps

Patrick C. Breysse, Ely Ely D. Kovetz, Ely Marc Kamionkowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


We demonstrate how cosmic star formation history can be measured with one-point statistics of carbon-monoxide intensity maps. Using a P(D) analysis, the luminosity function of COemitting sources can be inferred from the measured one-point intensity PDF. The star formation rate density (SFRD) can then be obtained, at several redshifts, from the CO luminosity density. We study the effects of instrumental noise, line foregrounds, and target redshift, and obtain constraints on the CO luminosity density of the order of 10 per cent. We show that the SFRD uncertainty is dominated by that of the model connecting CO luminosity and star formation. For pessimistic estimates of this model uncertainty, we obtain an error of the order of 50 per cent on SFRD for surveys targeting redshifts between two and seven with reasonable noise and foregrounds included. However, comparisons between intensity maps and galaxies could substantially reduce this model uncertainty. In this case, our constraints on SFRD at these redshifts improve to roughly 5 - 10 per cent, which is highly competitive with current measurements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L127-L131
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - 7 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Cosmology: theory
  • Galaxies: high-redshift

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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