Michael L. Brown

The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, SCT, United Kingdom

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Publications (5)22.08 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We present a finely-binned tomographic weak lensing analysis of the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Lensing Survey, CFHTLenS, mitigating contamination to the signal from the presence of intrinsic galaxy alignments via the simultaneous fit of a cosmological model and an intrinsic alignment model. CFHTLenS spans 154 square degrees in five optical bands, with accurate shear and photometric redshifts for a galaxy sample with a median redshift of zm =0.70. We estimate the 21 sets of cosmic shear correlation functions associated with six redshift bins, each spanning the angular range of 1.5<theta<35 arcmin. We combine this CFHTLenS data with auxiliary cosmological probes: the cosmic microwave background with data from WMAP7, baryon acoustic oscillations with data from BOSS, and a prior on the Hubble constant from the HST distance ladder. This leads to constraints on the normalisation of the matter power spectrum sigma_8 = 0.799 +/- 0.015 and the matter density parameter Omega_m = 0.271 +/- 0.010 for a flat Lambda CDM cosmology. For a flat wCDM cosmology we constrain the dark energy equation of state parameter w = -1.02 +/- 0.09. We also provide constraints for curved Lambda CDM and wCDM cosmologies. We find the intrinsic alignment contamination to be galaxy-type dependent with a significant intrinsic alignment signal found for early-type galaxies, in contrast to the late-type galaxy sample for which the intrinsic alignment signal is found to be consistent with zero.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 03/2013; 432(3). · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present our cosmic shear analysis of the Galaxy Evolution from Morphology and SEDs (GEMS) survey. Imaged with the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) on HST, GEMS provides high resolution imaging spanning some 800 square arcmins in the Chandra Deep Field South (CDFS). We discuss the benefits of using space-based data for weak lensing studies and show that the ACS is a very powerful instrument in this regard. We find that we are not limited by systematic errors arising from the anisotropic ACS point spread function distortion and use our cosmic shear results to place joint constraints on the matter density parameter Omegam and the amplitude of the matter power spectrum sigma8, finding sigma8(Omegam/0.3)0.62=0.73 ± 0.12.
    Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union 07/2005;
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    ABSTRACT: The Shear TEsting Programme, STEP, is a collaborative project to improve the accuracy and reliability of all weak lensing measurements in preparation for the next generation of wide-field surveys. In this first STEP paper we present the results of a blind analysis of simulated ground-based observations of relatively simple galaxy morphologies. The most successful methods are shown to achieve percent level accuracy. From the cosmic shear pipelines that have been used to constrain cosmology, we find weak lensing shear measured to an accuracy that is within the statistical errors of current weak lensing analyses, with shear measurements accurate to better than 7%. The dominant source of measurement error is shown to arise from calibration uncertainties where the measured shear is over or under-estimated by a constant multiplicative factor. This is of concern as calibration errors cannot be detected through standard diagnostic tests. The measured calibration errors appear to result from stellar contamination, false object detection, the shear measurement method itself, selection bias and/or the use of biased weights. Additive systematics (false detections of shear) resulting from residual point-spread function anisotropy are, in most cases, reduced to below an equivalent shear of 0.001, an order of magnitude below cosmic shear distortions on the scales probed by current surveys. Our results provide a snapshot view of the accuracy of current ground-based weak lensing methods and a benchmark upon which we can improve. To this end we provide descriptions of each method tested and include details of the eight different implementations of the commonly used Kaiser, Squires and Broadhurst (1995) method (KSB+) to aid the improvement of future KSB+ analyses. Comment: 18 pages, 5 figures. Version accepted by MNRAS includes 2 extra explanatory figures and updated results for the Kuijken analysis (see astroph/0601011)
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 06/2005; · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present our cosmic shear analysis of GEMS, one of the largest wide-field surveys ever undertaken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Imaged with the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), GEMS spans 795 square arcmin in the Chandra Deep Field South. We detect weak lensing by large-scale structure in high resolution F606W GEMS data from ~60 resolved galaxies per square arcminute. We measure the two-point shear correlation function, the top-hat shear variance and the shear power spectrum, performing an E/B mode decomposition for each statistic. We show that we are not limited by systematic errors and use our results to place joint constraints on the matter density parameter Omega_m and the amplitude of the matter power spectrum sigma_8. We find sigma_8(Omega_m/0.3)^{0.65}=0.68 +/- 0.13 where the 1sigma error includes both our uncertainty on the median redshift of the survey and sampling variance. Removing image and point spread function (PSF) distortions are crucial to all weak lensing analyses. We therefore include a thorough discussion on the degree of ACS PSF distortion and anisotropy which we characterise directly from GEMS data. Consecutively imaged over 20 days, GEMS data also allows us to investigate PSF instability over time. We find that, even in the relatively short GEMS observing period, the ACS PSF ellipticity varies at the level of a few percent which we account for with a semi-time dependent PSF model. Our correction for the temporal and spatial variability of the PSF is shown to be successful through a series of diagnostic tests. Comment: 17 pages, 16 figures. Version accepted by MNRAS
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 11/2004; · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report the results of a cosmic shear survey using the 4.2m William Herschel Telescope on La Palma, to a depth of R=25.8 (z~0.8), over 4 square degrees. The shear correlation functions are measured on scales from 1' to 15', and are used to constrain cosmological parameters. We ensure that our measurements are free from instrumental systematics by performing a series of tests, including a decomposition of the signal into E- and B-modes. We also reanalyse the data independently, using the shear measurement pipeline developed for the COMBO-17 survey. This confirms our results and also highlights various effects introduced by different implementations of the basic "KSB" shear measurement method. We find that the normalisation of the matter power spectrum on 8 h^{-1}Mpc scales is sigma_8=(1.02+/-0.15)(0.3/Omega_m)^{0.5}, where the 68%CL error includes noise, sample variance, covariance between angular scales, systematic effects, redshift uncertainty and marginalisation over other parameters. We compare these results with other cosmic shear surveys and with recent constraints from the WMAP experiment. Comment: 11 pages, 13 figures. Accepted version. Now includes a second, independent analysis of the WHT data using the COMBO-17 pipeline. This confirms our results, within statistical errors. A meticulous comparison of the two methods also highlights some important details of weak shear measurement for the first time
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 04/2004; · 5.52 Impact Factor