AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 152 Cosmology, Early Universe, Cosmic Distance Scale II
Oral, Wednesday, 10:00-11:30am, January 11, 2006, Balcony A

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[152.07] A Test for Temporal and Spatial Variation in the Fine Structure Constant using DEEP2 Redshift Survey Data

J. A. Newman (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory), DEEP2 Team

The DEEP2 Redshift Survey is the first project to study a large set of galaxies in the distant universe with spatial sampling and spectral resolution comparable to that achieved locally. By measuring the rest-frame wavelength separation of the [OIII] 4959/5007 Å doublet in DEEP2 spectra, we are able to test whether the fine structure constant \alpha had the same value at z~0.73 as today. This test is made possible by the high resolution, precise calibration, and stability of the DEIMOS spectrograph. [OIII] measurements provide a less precise, but more robust, test of \alpha variation than other commonly used techniques. DEEP2 is observing in four widely separated fields with the same instrument and methods; this allows a test for spatial variation in \alpha in addition to temporal variation. If high spectral resolution is used, future surveys for baryonic acoustic oscillations could greatly expand sample sizes, yielding strong constraints.

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