The structure and scale of the universe
We quantify the structure and scale of the Universe using redshift surveys of galaxies and QSOs and observations of Galactic open star clusters. We obtain the galaxy power spectrum from the Durham/UKST Galaxy Redshift Survey. By comparing the shape of the observed power spectrum to the APM real space power spectrum, we quantify the size of the redshift space distortions and find β = Ω(^0.6)/b=0.60±0.35. We also apply counts-in-cells analysis to the Durham/UKST and Stromlo-APM Surveys and measure the skewness directly out to 20h(^-1)Mpc. We find that the skewness measured from CDM models can only be reconciled with that of galaxies if bias is non-linear. We make predictions for the clustering in the 2dF QSO Survey by constructing mock catalogues from the Hubble Volume N-body simulation, with geometry, selection function and clustering matching those expected in the completed Survey. We predict that the correlation function will be reliably measured out to ~ 1, 000h(^-1)Mpc and the power spectrum out to 500h(^-1)Mpc. We measure the power spectrum from the 2dF QSOs observed by January 2000 and find it has a shape of F ~ 0.1. We also find little evolution in the clustering amplitude as a function of redshift. We obtain constraints on the cosmo- logical parameters Ωn and β by combining results from modeling geometric distortions introduced into the clustering pattern due to inconsistent cosmological assumptions and results from the QSO-mass bias. Finally, we consider the scale of the Universe. We check the calibration of the Cepheid Period-Luminosity relation using U,B,V and K'band imaging of Galactic Open Clusters containing Cepheids and measure the distance modulus to the LMC to be 18.51 ±0.10. However, we find anomalous colour-colour diagrams for two clusters and suggest that the effects of metallicity may be greater than previously considered.