A fast and accurate algorithm for spherical harmonic analysis on HEALPix grids with applications to the cosmic microwave background radiation. (English) Zbl 1437.65251

Summary: The Hierarchical Equal Area isoLatitude Pixelation (HEALPix) scheme is used extensively in astrophysics for data collection and analysis on the sphere. The scheme was originally designed for studying the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation, which represents the first light to travel during the early stages of the universe’s development and gives the strongest evidence for the Big Bang theory to date. Refined analysis of the CMB angular power spectrum can lead to revolutionary developments in understanding the nature of dark matter and dark energy. In this paper, we present a new method for performing spherical harmonic analysis for HEALPix data, which is a central component to computing and analyzing the angular power spectrum of the massive CMB data sets. The method uses a novel combination of a non-uniform fast Fourier transform, the double Fourier sphere method, and R. M. Slevinsky’s fast spherical harmonic transform [Appl. Comput. Harmon. Anal. 47, No. 3, 585–606 (2019; Zbl 1495.33006)]. For a HEALPix grid with \(N\) pixels (points), the computational complexity of the method is \(\mathcal{O}(N \log^2 N)\), with an initial set-up cost of \(\mathcal{O}( N^{3 / 2} \log N)\). This compares favorably with \(\mathcal{O}( N^{3 / 2})\) runtime complexity of the current methods available in the HEALPix software when multiple maps need to be analyzed at the same time. Using numerical experiments, we demonstrate that the new method also appears to provide better accuracy over the entire angular power spectrum of synthetic data when compared to the current methods, with a convergence rate at least two times higher.


65T50 Numerical methods for discrete and fast Fourier transforms
65Z05 Applications to the sciences
85A40 Astrophysical cosmology


Zbl 1495.33006
Full Text: DOI arXiv


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