Regular Article - Theoretical Physics
The peculiar Jeans length
Section of Astrophysics, Astronomy and Mechanics, Department of Physics, Aristotle University of Thessaloníki, 54124, Thessaloniki, Greece
2 Clare Hall, University of Cambridge, Herschel Road, CB3 9AL, Cambridge, UK
Accepted: 25 July 2021
Published online: 20 August 2021
Typical observers in the universe do not follow the smooth Hubble expansion, but move relative to it. Such bulk peculiar motions introduce a characteristic scale that is closely analogous to the familiar Jeans length. This “peculiar Jeans length” marks the threshold below which relative-motion effects dominate the linear kinematics. There, cosmological measurements can vary considerably between the bulk-flow frame and that of the Hubble expansion, entirely due to the observers’ relative motion. When dealing with the deceleration parameter, we find that the peculiar Jeans length varies between few and several hundred Mpc. On these scales, the deceleration parameter measured by the bulk-flow observers can be considerably larger (or smaller) than its Hubble-frame counterpart. This depends on whether the peculiar motion is locally expanding (or contracting), relative to the background expansion. Then, provided expanding and contracting bulk flows are randomly distributed, nearly half of the observers in the universe could be misled to think that their cosmos is over-decelerated. The rest of them, on the other hand, may come to believe that their universe is under-decelerated, or even accelerated in some cases. We make two phenomenological predictions that could in principle support this scenario.
© The Author(s) 2021
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