Donnacha Kirk

University College London, Londinium, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (16)37.6 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Weak lensing can be observed through a number of effects on the images of distant galaxies; their shapes are sheared, their sizes and fluxes (magnitudes) are magnified and their positions on the sky are modified by the lensing field. Galaxy shapes probe the shear field whilst size, magnitude and number density probe the convergence field. Both contain cosmological information. In this paper we are concerned with the magnification of the size and magnitude of individual galaxies as a probe of cosmic convergence. We develop a Bayesian approach for inferring the convergence field from a measured size, magnitude and redshift and demonstrate that the inference on convergence requires detailed knowledge of the joint distribution of intrinsic sizes and magnitudes. We build a simple parameterised model for the size-magnitude distribution and estimate this distribution for CFHTLenS galaxies. In light of the measured distribution, we show that the typical dispersion on convergence estimation is ~0.8, compared to ~0.38 for shear. We discuss the possibility of physical systematics for magnification (similar to intrinsic alignments for shear) and compute the expected gains in the Dark Energy Figure-of-Merit (FoM) from combining magnification with shear for different scenarios regarding systematics: when accounting for intrinsic alignments but no systematics on the magnification signal, including magnification could improve the FoM by upto a factor of ~2.5, whilst when accounting for physical systematics in both shear and magnification we anticipate a gain between ~25% and ~65%. In addition to the statistical gains, the fact that cosmic shear and magnification are subject to different systematics makes magnification an attractive complement to any cosmic shear analysis.
    10/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: There is currently no consistent approach to modelling galaxy bias evolution in cosmological inference. This lack of a common standard makes the rigorous comparison or combination of probes difficult. We show that the choice of biasing model has a significant impact on cosmological parameter constraints for a survey such as the Dark Energy Survey (DES), considering the 2-point correlations of galaxies in five tomographic redshift bins. We find that modelling galaxy bias with a free biasing parameter per redshift bin gives a Figure of Merit (FoM) for Dark Energy equation of state parameters $w_0, w_a$ smaller by a factor of 10 than if a constant bias is assumed. An incorrect bias model will also cause a shift in measured values of cosmological parameters. Motivated by these points and focusing on the redshift evolution of linear bias, we propose the use of a generalised galaxy bias which encompasses a range of bias models from theory, observations and simulations, $b(z) = c + (b_0 - c)/D(z)^\alpha$, where $c, b_0$ and $\alpha$ are constants. For a DES-like galaxy survey we find that this model gives an unbiased estimate of $w_0, w_a$ with the same number or fewer nuisance parameters and a higher FoM than a simple $b(z)$ model allowed to vary in z-bins. We show how the parameters of this model are correlated with cosmological parameters. We fit a range of bias models to two recent datasets, and conclude that this generalised parameterisation is a sensible benchmark expression of galaxy bias on large scales.
    05/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The next generation of spectroscopic surveys will have a wealth of photometric data available for use in target selection. Selecting the best targets is likely to be one of the most important hurdles in making these spectroscopic campaigns as successful as possible. Our ability to measure dark energy depends strongly on the types of targets that we are able to select with a given photometric data set. We show in this paper that we will be able to successfully select the targets needed for the next generation of spectroscopic surveys. We also investigate the details of this selection, including optimisation of instrument design and survey strategy in order to measure dark energy. We use color-color selection as well as neural networks to select the best possible emission line galaxies and luminous red galaxies for a cosmological survey. Using the Fisher matrix formalism we forecast the efficiency of each target selection scenario. We show how the dark energy figures of merit change in each target selection regime as a function of target type, survey time, survey density and other survey parameters. We outline the optimal target selection scenarios and survey strategy choices which will be available to the next generation of spectroscopic surveys.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 07/2013; · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The combination of multiple cosmological probes can produce measurements of cosmological parameters much more stringent than those possible with any individual probe. We examine the combination of two highly correlated probes of late-time structure growth: (i) weak gravitational lensing from a survey with photometric redshifts and (ii) galaxy clustering and redshift space distortions from a survey with spectroscopic redshifts. We choose generic survey designs so that our results are applicable to a range of current and future photometric redshift (e.g. KiDS, DES, HSC, Euclid) and spectroscopic redshift (e.g. DESI, 4MOST, Sumire) surveys. Combining the surveys greatly improves their power to measure both dark energy and modified gravity. An independent, non-overlapping combination sees a dark energy figure of merit more than 4 times larger than that produced by either survey alone. The powerful synergies between the surveys are strongest for modified gravity, where their constraints are orthogonal, producing a non-overlapping joint figure of merit nearly 2 orders of magnitude larger than either alone. Our projected angular power spectrum formalism makes it easy to model the cross-correlation observable when the surveys overlap on the sky, producing a joint data vector and full covariance matrix. We calculate a same-sky improvement factor, from the inclusion of these cross-correlations, relative to non-overlapping surveys. We find nearly a factor of 4 for dark energy and more than a factor of 2 for modified gravity. The exact forecast figures of merit and same-sky benefits can be radically affected by a range of forecasts assumption, which we explore methodically in a sensitivity analysis. We show that that our fiducial assumptions produce robust results which give a good average picture of the science return from combining photometric and spectroscopic surveys.
    07/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: We address the problem of separating stars from galaxies in future large photometric surveys. We focus our analysis on simulations of the Dark Energy Survey (DES). In the first part of the paper, we derive the science requirements on star/galaxy separation, for measurement of the cosmological parameters with the Gravitational Weak Lensing and Large Scale Structure probes. These requirements are dictated by the need to control both the statistical and systematic errors on the cosmological parameters, and by Point Spread Function calibration. We formulate the requirements in terms of the completeness and purity provided by a given star/galaxy classifier. In order to achieve these requirements at faint magnitudes, we propose a new method for star/galaxy separation in the second part of the paper. We first use Principal Component Analysis to outline the correlations between the objects parameters and extract from it the most relevant information. We then use the reduced set of parameters as input to an Artificial Neural Network. This multi-parameter approach improves upon purely morphometric classifiers (such as the classifier implemented in SExtractor), especially at faint magnitudes: it increases the purity by up to 20% for stars and by up to 12% for galaxies, at i-magnitude fainter than 23.
    06/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Distributed as an Instant Email Notice Supernovae Credential Certification: Masao Sako (masao@sas.upenn.edu) Subjects: Optical, Supernovae Referred to by ATel #: 4725, 4741, 4800, 4826 First SN Discoveries from the Dark Energy Survey The Dark Energy Survey (DES) report the discovery of the first set of supernovae (SN) from the project. Images were observed as part of the DES Science Verification phase using the newly-installed 570-Megapixel Dark Energy Camera on the CTIO Blanco 4-m telescope by observers J. Annis, E. Buckley-Geer, and H. Lin. SN observations are planned throughout the observing campaign on a regular cadence of 4-6 days in each of the ten 3-deg2 fields in the DES griz filters. The SN candidates are named according to the season and field in which they were discovered. We adopt the convention -- DES{season}{field}{index} -- where {season} is the year pertaining to the beginning of each observing season, {field} denotes one of the ten SN search fields (E1,E2,S1,S2,X1,X2,X3,C1,C2,C3) in Elais-S1 (E), Stripe 82 (S), XMM-LSS (X) and CDF-S (C), and {index} is one or more lower-case letters starting from a-z, then aa-az, and so on. The DES SN Survey strategy is described in Bernstein et al. (2012, ApJ, 753, 152). Spectroscopic classifications were performed by the OzDES collaboration from spectra (350-900 nm) obtained at the Anglo-Australian Telescope with AAOmega-2dF observed by C. Lidman, R. Sharp, and S. A. Uddin. Classifications were performed using Superfit (Howell et al 2002, BAAS, 34, 1256) or SNID (Blondin & Tonry, 2007, ApJ, 666, 1024). Redshifts measured from narrow galaxy lines are quoted to 3 significant figures. Those measured from broad SN features are quoted to 2 significant figures. SN phases are based on both the optical spectra and multi-band light curves at the time of the spectroscopic measurements. Name | RA(J2000) | Dec(J2000) | Discovery date (UT) | Discovery r mag| Spectrum date (UT) | redshift | type | phase DES12C1a | 03:38:54.5 | -27:32:28.2 | 2012 Dec 07 | 22.0 | 2012 Dec 13 | 0.303 | Ia | near max DES12C1b | 03:35:05.8 | -26:45:53.9 | 2012 Dec 07 | 20.9 | 2012 Dec 13 | 0.243 | Ia | near max DES12C2a | 03:41:13.1 | -28:59:37.9 | 2012 Dec 04 | 21.5 | 2012 Dec 14 | 0.21 | Ia | near max
    The Astronomer's Telegram. 12/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: We describe an initiative to build and use the Dark Energy Spectrometer (DESpec), a wide-field spectroscopic survey instrument for the Blanco 4 meter telescope at Cerro Tololo InterAmerican Observatory (CTIO) in Chile. A new system with about 4000 robotically positioned optical fibers will be interchangeable with the CCD imager of the existing Dark Energy Camera (DECam), accessing a field of view of 3.8 square degrees in a single exposure. The proposed instrument will be operated by CTIO and available for use by the astronomy community. Our collaboration proposes to use DESpec to conduct a wide, deep spectroscopic survey to study Dark Energy. In a survey of about 350 nights, the DESpec collaboration proposes to obtain spectroscopic redshifts for about 8 million galaxies over 5000 square degrees selected from the Dark Energy Survey (DES). This Dark Energy Spectroscopic Survey will advance our knowledge of cosmic expansion and structure growth significantly beyond that obtainable with imaging-only surveys. Since it adds a spectroscopic third dimension to the same sky as DES, DESpec will enable increasingly precise techniques to discriminate among alternative explanations of cosmic acceleration, such as Dark Energy and Modified Gravity.
    arXiv:1209.2451. 09/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: We describe the preliminary design of the Dark Energy Spectrometer (DESpec), a fiber-fed spectroscopic instrument concept for the Blanco 4-meter telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO). DESpec would take advantage of the infrastructure recently deployed for the Dark Energy Camera (DECam). DESpec would be mounted in the new DECam prime focus cage, would be interchangeable with DECam, would share the DECam optical corrector, and would feature a focal plane with ~4000 robotically positioned optical fibers feeding multiple high-throughput spectrometers. The instrument would have a field of view of 3.8 square degrees, a wavelength range of approximately 500&lt<1000 nm, and a spectral resolution of R~3000. DESpec would provide a powerful spectroscopic follow-up system for sources in the Southern hemisphere discovered by the Dark Energy Survey and LSST.λ
    Proc SPIE 09/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: We consider the effect of galaxy intrinsic alignments (IAs) on dark energy constraints from weak gravitational lensing. We summarise the latest version of the linear alignment model of IAs, following the brief note of Hirata & Seljak (2010) and further interpretation in Laszlo et al. (2011). We show the cosmological bias on the dark energy equation of state parameters w0 and wa that would occur if IAs were ignored. We find that w0 and wa are both catastrophically biased, by an absolute value of just greater than unity under the Fisher matrix approximation. This contrasts with a bias several times larger for the earlier IA implementation. Therefore there is no doubt that IAs must be taken into account for future Stage III experiments and beyond. We use a flexible grid of IA and galaxy bias parameters as used in previous work, and investigate what would happen if the universe used the latest IA model, but we assumed the earlier version. We find that despite the large difference between the two IA models, the grid flexibility is sufficient to remove cosmological bias and recover the correct dark energy equation of state. In an appendix, we compare observed shear power spectra to those from a popular previous implementation and explain the differences.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 12/2011; 424(3). · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Euclid is a space-based survey mission from the European Space Agency designed to understand the origin of the Universe's accelerating expansion. It will use cosmological probes to investigate the nature of dark energy, dark matter and gravity by tracking their observational signatures on the geometry of the universe and on the cosmic history of structure formation. The mission is optimised for two independent primary cosmological probes: Weak gravitational Lensing (WL) and Baryonic Acoustic Oscillations (BAO). The Euclid payload consists of a 1.2 m Korsch telescope designed to provide a large field of view. It carries two instruments with a common field-of-view of ~0.54 deg2: the visual imager (VIS) and the near infrared instrument (NISP) which contains a slitless spectrometer and a three bands photometer. The Euclid wide survey will cover 15,000 deg2 of the extragalactic sky and is complemented by two 20 deg2 deep fields. For WL, Euclid measures the shapes of 30-40 resolved galaxies per arcmin2 in one broad visible R+I+Z band (550-920 nm). The photometric redshifts for these galaxies reach a precision of dz/(1+z) < 0.05. They are derived from three additional Euclid NIR bands (Y, J, H in the range 0.92-2.0 micron), complemented by ground based photometry in visible bands derived from public data or through engaged collaborations. The BAO are determined from a spectroscopic survey with a redshift accuracy dz/(1+z) =0.001. The slitless spectrometer, with spectral resolution ~250, predominantly detects Ha emission line galaxies. Euclid is a Medium Class mission of the ESA Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 programme, with a foreseen launch date in 2019. This report (also known as the Euclid Red Book) describes the outcome of the Phase A study.
    10/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: We consider how upcoming photometric large scale structure surveys can be optimized to measure the properties of dark energy and possible cosmic scale modifications to General Relativity in light of realistic astrophysical and instrumental systematic uncertainities. In particular we include flexible descriptions of intrinsic alignments, galaxy bias and photometric redshift uncertainties in a Fisher Matrix analysis of shear, position and position-shear correlations, including complementary cosmological constraints from the CMB. We study the impact of survey tradeoffs in depth versus breadth, and redshift quality. We parameterise the results in terms of the Dark Energy Task Force figure of merit, and deviations from General Relativity through an analagous Modified Gravity figure of merit. We find that intrinsic alignments weaken the dependence of figure of merit on area and that, for a fixed observing time, a fiducial Stage IV survey plateaus above roughly 10,000deg2 for DE and peaks at about 5,000deg2 as the relative importance of IAs at low redshift penalises wide, shallow surveys. While reducing photometric redshift scatter improves constraining power, the dependence is shallow. The variation in constraining power is stronger once IAs are included and is slightly more pronounced for MG constraints than for DE. The inclusion of intrinsic alignments and galaxy position information reduces the required prior on photometric redshift accuracy by an order of magnitude for both the fiducial Stage III and IV surveys, equivalent to a factor of 100 reduction in the number of spectroscopic galaxies required to calibrate the photometric sample.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 09/2011; · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We consider the impact of key astrophysical and measurement systematics on constraints on dark energy and modifications to gravity on cosmic scales. We focus on upcoming photometric "Stage III" and "Stage IV" large scale structure surveys such as DES, SuMIRe, Euclid, LSST and WFIRST. We illustrate the different redshift dependencies of gravity modifications compared to intrinsic alignments, the main astrophysical systematic. The way in which systematic uncertainties, such as galaxy bias and intrinsic alignments, are modelled can change dark energy equation of state and modified gravity figures of merit by a factor of four. The inclusion of cross-correlations of cosmic shear and galaxy position measurements helps reduce the loss of constraining power from the lensing shear surveys. When forecasts for Planck CMB and Stage IV surveys are combined, constraints on the dark energy equation of state and modified gravity model are recovered, relative to those from shear data with no systematic uncertainties, if fewer than 36 free parameters in total are used to describe the galaxy bias and intrinsic alignment models as a function of scale and redshift. To facilitate future investigations, we also provide a fitting function for the matter power spectrum arising from the phenomenological modified gravity model we consider.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 09/2011; · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: GRavitational lEnsing Accuracy Testing 2010 (GREAT10) is a public image analysis challenge aimed at the development of algorithms to analyze astronomical images. Specifically, the challenge is to measure varying image distortions in the presence of a variable convolution kernel, pixelization and noise. This is the second in a series of challenges set to the astronomy, computer science and statistics communities, providing a structured environment in which methods can be improved and tested in preparation for planned astronomical surveys. GREAT10 extends upon previous work by introducing variable fields into the challenge. The "Galaxy Challenge" involves the precise measurement of galaxy shape distortions, quantified locally by two parameters called shear, in the presence of a known convolution kernel. Crucially, the convolution kernel and the simulated gravitational lensing shape distortion both now vary as a function of position within the images, as is the case for real data. In addition, we introduce the "Star Challenge" that concerns the reconstruction of a variable convolution kernel, similar to that in a typical astronomical observation. This document details the GREAT10 Challenge for potential participants. Continually updated information is also available from http://www.greatchallenges.info.
    The Annals of Applied Statistics 01/2011; 5(3):2231-2263. · 2.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present the results of the Gravitational LEnsing Accuracy Testing 2008 (GREAT08) Challenge, a blind analysis challenge to infer weak gravitational lensing shear distortions from images. The primary goal was to stimulate new ideas by presenting the problem to researchers outside the shear measurement community. Six GREAT08 Team methods were presented at the launch of the Challenge and five additional groups submitted results during the 6-month competition. Participants analyzed 30 million simulated galaxies with a range in signal-to-noise ratio, point spread function ellipticity, galaxy size and galaxy type. The large quantity of simulations allowed shear measurement methods to be assessed at a level of accuracy suitable for currently planned future cosmic shear observations for the first time. Different methods perform well in different parts of simulation parameter space and come close to the target level of accuracy in several of these. A number of fresh ideas have emerged as a result of the Challenge including a re-examination of the process of combining information from different galaxies, which reduces the dependence on realistic galaxy modelling. The image simulations will become increasingly sophisticated in future GREAT Challenges, meanwhile the GREAT08 simulations remain as a benchmark for additional developments in shear measurement algorithms.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 06/2010; 405(3):2044 - 2061. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Constraints on cosmology from recent cosmic shear observations are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their treatment of potential systematic effects. Here we present cosmological constraints which include modelling of intrinsic alignments. We demonstrate how the results are changed for three different intrinsic alignment models, and for two different models of the cosmic shear galaxy population. We find that intrinsic alignments can either reduce or increase measurements of the fluctuation amplitude parameter sigma_8 depending on these decisions, and depending on the cosmic shear survey properties. This is due to the interplay between the two types of intrinsic alignment, II and GI. It has been shown that future surveys must make a careful treatment of intrinsic alignments to avoid significant biases, and that simultaneous constraints from shear-shear and shear-position correlation functions can mitigate the effects. For the first time we here combine constraints from cosmic shear surveys (shear-shear correlations) with those from "GI" intrinsic alignment data sets (shear-position correlations). We produce updated constraints on cosmology marginalised over two free parameters in the halo model for intrinsic alignments. We find that the additional freedom is well compensated by the additional information, in that the constraints are very similar indeed to those obtained when intrinsic alignments are ignored, both in terms of best fit values and uncertainties. Comment: 16 pages, 11 figures
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 01/2010; · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The GRavitational lEnsing Accuracy Testing 2008 (GREAT08) Challenge focuses on a problem that is of crucial importance for future observations in cosmology. The shapes of distant galaxies can be used to determine the properties of dark energy and the nature of gravity, because light from those galaxies is bent by gravity from the intervening dark matter. The observed galaxy images appear distorted, although only slightly, and their shapes must be precisely disentangled from the effects of pixelisation, convolution and noise. The worldwide gravitational lensing community has made significant progress in techniques to measure these distortions via the Shear TEsting Program (STEP). Via STEP, we have run challenges within our own community, and come to recognise that this particular image analysis problem is ideally matched to experts in statistical inference, inverse problems and computational learning. Thus, in order to continue the progress seen in recent years, we are seeking an infusion of new ideas from these communities. This document details the GREAT08 Challenge for potential participants. Please visit http://www.great08challenge.info for the latest information. Comment: Published in at http://dx.doi.org/10.1214/08-AOAS222 the Annals of Applied Statistics (http://www.imstat.org/aoas/) by the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (http://www.imstat.org)
    The Annals of Applied Statistics 02/2008; · 2.24 Impact Factor