The clustering of the SDSS-IV extended Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey DR14 quasar sample: First measurement of Baryon Acoustic Oscillations be

We present measurements of the Baryon Acoustic Oscillation (BAO) scale in redshift-space using the clustering of quasars. We consider a sample of 147,000 quasars from the extended Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (eBOSS) distributed over 2044 square degrees with redshifts $0.8 < z < 2.2$ and measure their spherically-averaged clustering in both configuration and Fourier space. Our observational dataset and the 1400 simulated realizations of the dataset allow us to detect a preference for BAO that is greater than 2.5$\sigma$. We determine the spherically averaged BAO distance to $z = 1.52$ to 4.4 per cent precision: $D_V(z=1.52)=3855\pm170 \left(r_{\rm d}/r_{\rm d, fid}\right)\ $Mpc. This is the first time the location of the BAO feature has been measured between redshifts 1 and 2. Our result is fully consistent with the prediction obtained by extrapolating the Planck flat $\Lambda$CDM best-fit cosmology. All of our results are consistent with basic large-scale structure (LSS) theory, confirming quasars to be a reliable tracer of LSS, and provide a starting point for numerous cosmological tests to be performed with eBOSS quasar samples. We combine our result with previous, independent, BAO distance measurements to construct an updated BAO distance-ladder. Using these BAO data alone and marginalizing over the length of the standard ruler, we find $\Omega_{\Lambda} > 0$ at 6.5$\sigma$ significance when testing a $\Lambda$CDM model with free curvature.

Comments: 23 pages, alphabetical author list, submitted to MNRAS, comments welcome, data and results to be released publicly after journal acceptance

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