## 5. Discussion and conclusionsThe DWT skewness and kurtosis spectra of real and simulated samples
of Ly forests has been calculated. Deviations
from a Gaussian state in these samples are detected for all data on
scales of 5 to 10 h It is possible for non-Gaussianity to result from systematic errors hiding in the original data reduction. For instance, discrete sampling or binning of a continuous distribution into a histogram with bin size leads to non-Gaussianity at least on scale . Many selection effects actually are some kind of sampling, and therefore, they will also give rise to non-Gaussianity. All these non-Gaussianities are "spurious". Fortunately, in most cases these spurious non-Gaussian signals are
significant only at one special scale. For a Poisson process, it is
the scale of the mean distance of nearest neighbor clouds. For
binning, it is . On scales larger than
, the spurious non-Gaussianities will decay
out. That is, the scale-dependent behavior of sampling and binning is
useful in recognizing spurious non-Gaussianity. In the case of the
Ly forests, the mean nearest neighbor distance
along with the binning scale are much less
than the scales of the detected non-Gaussianities, and therefore, the
detected non-Gaussianities are inherent to the distributions. There is
also evidence for intrinsic scales in the Ly
spectra of magnitude 25 h Nevertheless, high-resolution samples which can cover the spatial
range as l arge as 80 h Last but not least, the numerical work of calculating DWT higher order moment spectrum is not any more difficult than calculating the second order moments. Generally, the calculation of third and higher order correlation functions of large scale structure samples is very strenuous work. But the numerical work involved in calculating the DWT is about the same as the FFT, and can even be faster. The FFT requires N Log N calculations, while the DWT, using a "pyramid" scheme, requires only order N calculations (Press et al. 1992). This method can easily be generalized to 2- and 3-dimensions. The kurtosis and skewness spectrum opens a new window for looking at the statistical features of large scale structures. It is an important and necessary addition to the existing methods of describing the clustering and correlation of the cosmic density field, and for discriminating among models of structure formation. © European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998 Online publication: November 9, 1998 |