The clustering of galaxies in the SDSS-III Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey: constraints on the time variation of fundamental constants from the large-scale two-point correlation function
We obtain constraints on the variation of the fundamental constants from the full shape of the redshift-space correlation function of a sample of luminous galaxies drawn from the Data Release 9 of the Baryonic Oscillations Spectroscopic Survey. We combine this information with data from recent CMB, BAO and H_0 measurements. We focus on possible variations of the fine structure constant α and the electron mass m_e in the early universe, and study the degeneracies between these constants and other cosmological parameters, such as the dark energy equation of state parameter w_DE, the massive neutrinos fraction f_ν, the effective number of relativistic species N_eff, and the primordial helium abundance Y_He. When only one of the fundamental constants is varied, our final bounds are α / α_0 = 0.9957_-0.0042^+0.0041 and m_e /(m_e)_0 = 1.006_-0.013^+0.014. For their joint variation, our results are α / α_0 = 0.9901_-0.0054^+0.0055 and m_e /(m_e)_0 = 1.028 +/- 0.019. Although when m_e is allowed to vary our constraints on w_DE are consistent with a cosmological constant, when α is treated as a free parameter we find w_DE = -1.20 +/- 0.13; more than 1 σ away from its standard value. When f_ν and α are allowed to vary simultaneously, we find f_ν < 0.043 (95% CL), implying a limit of ∑ m_ν < 0.46 eV (95% CL), while for m_e variation, we obtain f_nu < 0.086 (95% CL), which implies ∑ m_ν < 1.1 eV (95% CL). When N_eff or Y_He are considered as free parameters, their simultaneous variation with α provides constraints close to their standard values (when the H_0 prior is not included in the analysis), while when m_e is allowed to vary, their preferred values are significantly higher. In all cases, our results are consistent with no variations of α or m_e at the 1 or 2 σ level.