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The three-point correlation function of the cosmic microwave background in inflationary models
Gangui, Alejandro; Lucchin, Francesco; Matarrese, Sabino; Mollerach, Silvia
AA(SISSA, Trieste, Italy), AB(SISSA, Trieste, Italy), AC(Università di Padova, Padova, Italy), AD(Università di Padova, Padova, Italy)
The Astrophysical Journal, vol. 430, no. 2, pt. 1, p. 447-457 (ApJ Homepage)
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NASA/STI Keywords:
Astronomical Models, Correlation Coefficients, Cosmic Background Explorer Satellite, Gravitational Fields, Perturbation Theory, Temperature Distribution, Angular Resolution, Astrophysics, Cosmology, Data Correlation, Microwave Radiometers, Skewness, Stochastic Processes, Universe
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We analyze the temperature three-point correlation function and the skewness of the cosmic microwave background, providing general relations in terms of multipole coefficients. We then focus on applications to large angular scale anisotropies, such as those measured by the Cosmic Background Explorer Satellite (COBE) differential microwave radiometer (DMR) calculating the contribution to these quantities from primordial, inflation-generated, scalar perturbations, via the Sachs-Wolfe effect. Using the techniques of stochastic inflation, we are able to provide a universal expression for the ensemble-averaged three-point function and for the corresponding skewness, which accounts for all primordial second-order effects. These general expressions would, moreover, apply to any situation where the bispectrum of the primordial gravitational potential has a hierarchical form. Our results are then specialized to a number of relevant models: power-law inflation driven by an exponential potential, chaotic inflation with a quartic and quadratic potential, and a particular case of hybrid inflation. In all these cases non-Gaussian effects are small: as an example, the mean skewness is much smaller than the cosmic rms skewness implied by a Gaussian temperature fluctuation field.

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