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Probing Cosmic Acceleration with Baryon Acoustic Oscillations and Galaxy Clusters

David Weinberg (Ohio State University)

The remarkable discovery of cosmic acceleration poses two fundamental questions. (1) Does acceleration reflect the presence of a new energy component or the breakdown of General Relativity on cosmological scales ?
(2) If acceleration is caused by a new energy component, is it constant
in space and time as expected for fundamental vacuum energy, or does
it show evolution or variation that imply a dynamical field ?

I will review observational methods for addressing these questions, with emphasis on baryon acoustic oscillations (BAO) and on galaxy clusters. I will show recent BAO results from the SDSS-III BOSS survey and recent cluster results based on cluster catalogs and stacked weak lensing mass measurements from SDSS-I and II. The methods being pioneered in these investigations will grow steadily more powerful with future surveys such as the
Dark Energy Survey, BigBOSS, LSST, Euclid, and WFIRST.