Cosmic variance mitigation in measurements of the integrated Sachs-Wolfe effect

Simon Foreman, P. Daniel Meerburg, Joel Meyers, Alexander Van Engelen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The cosmic microwave background (CMB) is sensitive to the recent phase of accelerated cosmic expansion through the late-time integrated Sachs-Wolfe (ISW) effect, which manifests as secondary temperature fluctuations on large angular scales. However, the large cosmic variance from primary CMB fluctuations limits the usefulness of this effect in constraining dark energy or modified gravity. In this paper, we propose a novel method to separate the ISW signal from the primary signal using gravitational lensing, based on the fact that the ISW signal is, to a good approximation, not gravitationally lensed. We forecast how well we can isolate the ISW signal for different experimental configurations and discuss various applications, including modified gravity, large-scale CMB anomalies, and measurements of local-type primordial non-Gaussianity. Although not within reach of current experiments, the proposed method is a unique way to remove the cosmic variance of the primary signal, allowing for better CMB-based constraints on late-time phenomena than previously thought possible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number083506
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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