L. N. da Costa

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States

Are you L. N. da Costa?

Claim your profile

Publications (122)321.47 Total impact

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We measure the redshift evolution of galaxy bias from a magnitude-limited galaxy sample by combining the galaxy density maps and weak lensing shear maps for a $\sim$116 deg$^{2}$ area of the Dark Energy Survey (DES) Science Verification data. This method was first developed in Amara et al. (2012) and later re-examined in a companion paper (Pujol et al., in prep) with rigorous simulation tests and analytical treatment of tomographic measurements. In this work we apply this method to the DES SV data and measure the galaxy bias for a magnitude-limited galaxy sample. We find the galaxy bias and 1$\sigma$ error bars in 4 photometric redshift bins to be 1.33$\pm$0.18 (z=0.2-0.4), 1.19$\pm$0.23 (z=0.4-0.6), 0.99$\pm$0.36 ( z=0.6-0.8), and 1.66$\pm$0.56 (z=0.8-1.0). These measurements are consistent at the 1-2$\sigma$ level with mea- surements on the same dataset using galaxy clustering and cross-correlation of galaxies with CMB lensing. In addition, our method provides the only $\sigma_8$-independent constraint among the three. We forward-model the main observational effects using mock galaxy catalogs by including shape noise, photo-z errors and masking effects. We show that our bias measurement from the data is consistent with that expected from simulations. With the forthcoming full DES data set, we expect this method to provide additional constraints on the galaxy bias measurement from more traditional methods. Furthermore, in the process of our measurement, we build up a 3D mass map that allows further exploration of the dark matter distribution and its relation to galaxy evolution.
    Preview · Article · Jan 2016
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We derive the stellar mass fraction in the galaxy cluster RXC J2248.7-4431 observed with the Dark Energy Survey (DES) during the Science Verification period. We compare the stellar mass results from DES (5 filters) with those from the Hubble Space Telescope CLASH (17 filters). When the cluster spectroscopic redshift is assumed, we show that stellar masses from DES can be estimated within 25% of CLASH values. We compute the stellar mass contribution coming from red and blue galaxies, and study the relation between stellar mass and the underlying dark matter using weak lensing studies with DES and CLASH. An analysis of the radial profiles of the DES total and stellar mass yields a stellar-to-total fraction of f*=7.0+-2.2x10^-3 within a radius of r_200c~3 Mpc. Our analysis also includes a comparison of photometric redshifts and star/galaxy separation efficiency for both datasets. We conclude that space-based small field imaging can be used to calibrate the galaxy properties in DES for the much wider field of view. The technique developed to derive the stellar mass fraction in galaxy clusters can be applied to the ~100 000 clusters that will be observed within this survey. The stacking of all the DES clusters would reduce the errors on f* estimates and deduce important information about galaxy evolution.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We describe updates to the redMaPPer algorithm, a photometric red-sequence cluster finder specifically designed for large photometric surveys. The updated algorithm is applied to $150\,\mathrm{deg}^2$ of Science Verification (SV) data from the Dark Energy Survey (DES), and to the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) DR8 photometric data set. The DES SV catalog is locally volume limited, and contains 786 clusters with richness $\lambda>20$ (roughly equivalent to $M_{\mathrm{500c}}\gtrsim10^{14}\,h_{70}^{-1}\,M_{\odot}$) and $0.2<z<0.9$. The DR8 catalog consists of 26311 clusters with $0.08<z<0.6$, with a sharply increasing richness threshold as a function of redshift for $z\gtrsim 0.35$. The photometric redshift performance of both catalogs is shown to be excellent, with photometric redshift uncertainties controlled at the $\sigma_z/(1+z)\sim 0.01$ level for $z\lesssim0.7$, rising to $\sim0.02$ at $z\sim0.9$ in DES SV. We make use of \emph{Chandra} and \emph{XMM} X-ray and South Pole Telescope Sunyaev-Zeldovich data to show that the centering performance and mass--richness scatter are consistent with expectations based on prior runs of redMaPPer on SDSS data. We also show how the redMaPPer photo-$z$ and richness estimates are relatively insensitive to imperfect star/galaxy separation and small-scale star masks.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This overview article describes the legacy prospect and discovery potential of the Dark Energy Survey (DES) beyond cosmological studies, illustrating it with examples from the DES early data. DES is using a wide-field camera (DECam) on the 4m Blanco Telescope in Chile to image 5000 sq deg of the sky in five filters (grizY). By its completion the survey is expected to have generated a catalogue of 300 million galaxies with photometric redshifts and 100 million stars. In addition, a time-domain survey search over 27 sq deg is expected to yield a sample of thousands of Type Ia supernovae and other transients. The main goals of DES are to characterise dark energy and dark matter, and to test alternative models of gravity; these goals will be pursued by studying large scale structure, cluster counts, weak gravitational lensing and Type Ia supernovae. However, DES also provides a rich data set which allows us to study many other aspects of astrophysics. In this paper we focus on additional science with DES, emphasizing areas where the survey makes a difference with respect to other current surveys. The paper illustrates, using early data (from `Science Verification', and from the first, second and third seasons of observations), what DES can tell us about the solar system, the Milky Way, galaxy evolution, quasars, and other topics. In addition, we show that if the cosmological model is assumed to be Lambda+ Cold Dark Matter (LCDM) then important astrophysics can be deduced from the primary DES probes. Highlights from DES early data include the discovery of 34 Trans Neptunian Objects, 17 dwarf satellites of the Milky Way, one published z > 6 quasar (and more confirmed) and two published superluminous supernovae (and more confirmed).
    Preview · Article · Jan 2016
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Meeting the science goals for many current and future ground-based optical large-area sky surveys requires that the calibrated broadband photometry is stable in time and uniform over the sky to 1% precision or better. Past surveys have achieved photometric precision of 1-2% by calibrating the survey's stellar photometry with repeated measurements of a large number of stars observed in multiple epochs. The calibration techniques employed by these surveys only consider the relative frame-by-frame photometric zeropoint offset and the focal plane position-dependent illumination corrections, which are independent of the source color. However, variations in the wavelength dependence of the atmospheric transmission and the instrumental throughput induce source color-dependent systematic errors. These systematic errors must also be considered to achieve the most precise photometric measurements. In this paper, we examine such systematic chromatic errors using photometry from the Dark Energy Survey (DES) as an example. We define a natural magnitude system for DES and calculate the systematic errors on stellar magnitudes, when the atmospheric transmission and instrumental throughput deviate from the natural system. We conclude that the systematic chromatic errors caused by the change of airmass in each exposure, the change of the precipitable water vapor and aerosol in the atmosphere over time, and the non-uniformity of instrumental throughput over the focal plane, can be up to 2% in some bandpasses. We compare the calculated systematic chromatic errors with the observed DES data. For the test sample data, we correct these errors using measurements of the atmospheric transmission and instrumental throughput. The residual after correction is less than 0.3%. We also find that the errors for non-stellar objects are redshift-dependent and can be larger than those for stars at certain redshifts.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We present DES14X3taz, a new hydrogen-poor super luminous supernova (SLSN-I) discovered by the Dark Energy Survey (DES) supernova program, with additional photometric data provided by the Survey Using DECam for Superluminous Supernovae (SUDSS). Spectra obtained using OSIRIS on the Gran Telescopio CANARIAS (GTC) show DES14X3taz is a SLSN-I at z=0.608. Multi-color photometry reveals a double-peaked light curve: a blue and relatively bright initial peak that fades rapidly prior to the slower rise of the main light curve. Our multi-color photometry allows us, for the first time, to show that the initial peak cools from 22,000K to 8,000K over 15 rest-frame days, and is faster and brighter than any published core-collapse supernova, reaching 30% of the bolometric luminosity of the main peak. No physical Ni-powered model can fit this initial peak. We show that a shock-cooling model followed by a magnetar driving the second phase of the light curve can adequately explain the light curve of DES14X3taz, with the cooling of extended material at a distance of ~400 solar radii being preferred over extended stellar envelope models. We compare DES14X3taz to the few double-peaked SLSN-I events in the literature. Although the rise-times and characteristics of these initial peaks differ, there exists the tantalizing possibility that they can be explained by one physical interpretation.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We measure the cross-correlation between weak lensing of galaxy images and of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). The effects of gravitational lensing on different sources will be correlated if the lensing is caused by the same mass fluctuations. We use galaxy shape measurements from 139 deg$^{2}$ of the Dark Energy Survey (DES) Science Verification data and overlapping CMB lensing from the South Pole Telescope (SPT) and Planck. The DES source galaxies have a median redshift of $z_{\rm med} {\sim} 0.7$, while the CMB lensing kernel is broad and peaks at $z{\sim}2$. The resulting cross-correlation is maximally sensitive to mass fluctuations at $z{\sim}0.44$. Assuming the Planck 2015 best-fit cosmology, the amplitude of the DES$\times$SPT cross-power is found to be $A = 0.88 \pm 0.30$ and that from DES$\times$Planck to be $A = 0.86 \pm 0.39$, where $A=1$ corresponds to the theoretical prediction. These are consistent with the expected signal and correspond to significances of $2.9 \sigma$ and $2.2 \sigma$ respectively. We demonstrate that our results are robust to a number of important systematic effects including the shear measurement method, estimator choice, photometric redshift uncertainty and CMB lensing systematics. Significant intrinsic alignment of galaxy shapes would increase the cross-correlation signal inferred from the data; we calculate a value of $A = 1.08 \pm 0.36$ for DES$\times$SPT when we correct the observations with a simple IA model. With three measurements of this cross-correlation now existing in the literature, there is not yet reliable evidence for any deviation from the expected LCDM level of cross-correlation, given the size of the statistical uncertainties and the significant impact of systematic errors, particularly IAs. We provide forecasts for the expected signal-to-noise of the combination of the five-year DES survey and SPT-3G.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We report the observation and confirmation of the first group- and cluster-scale strong gravitational lensing systems found in Dark Energy Survey (DES) data. Through visual inspection of data from the Science Verification (SV) season, we identified 53 candidate systems. We then obtained spectroscopic follow-up of 21 candidates using the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph (GMOS) at the Gemini South telescope and the Inamori-Magellan Areal Camera and Spectrograph (IMACS) at the Magellan/Baade telescope. With this follow-up, we confirmed six candidates as gravitational lenses: Three of the systems are newly discovered, and the remaining three were previously known. Of the 21 observed candidates, the remaining 15 were either not detected in spectroscopic observations, were observed and did not exhibit continuum emission (or spectral features), or were ruled out as lensing systems. The confirmed sample consists of one group-scale and five galaxy cluster-scale lenses. The lensed sources range in redshift z ~ 0.80-3.2, and in i-band surface brightness i_{SB} ~ 23-25 mag/sq.-arcsec. (2" aperture). For each of the six systems, we estimate the Einstein radius and the enclosed mass, which have ranges ~ 5.0 - 8.6" and ~ 7.5 x 10^{12} - 6.4 x 10^{13} solar masses, respectively.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) harbors a rich and diverse system of star clusters, whose ages, chemical abundances, and positions provide information about the LMC history of star formation. We use Science Verification imaging data from the Dark Energy Survey to increase the census of known star clusters in the outer LMC and to derive physical parameters for a large sample of such objects using a spatially and photometrically homogeneous data set. Our sample contains 255 visually identified cluster candidates, of which 109 were not listed in any previous catalog. We quantify the crowding effect for the stellar sample produced by the DES Data Management pipeline and conclude that the stellar completeness is < 10% inside typical LMC cluster cores. We therefore develop a pipeline to sample and measure stellar magnitudes and positions around the cluster candidates using DAOPHOT. We also implement a maximum-likelihood method to fit individual density profiles and colour-magnitude diagrams. For 117 (from a total of 255) of the cluster candidates (28 uncatalogued clusters), we obtain reliable ages, metallicities, distance moduli and structural parameters, confirming their nature as physical systems. The distribution of cluster metallicities shows a radial dependence, with no clusters more metal-rich than [Fe/H] ~ -0.7 beyond 8 kpc from the LMC center. The age distribution has two peaks at ~ 1.2 Gyr and ~ 2.7 Gyr.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We have developed a crowdsourcing web application for image quality control employed by the Dark Energy Survey. Dubbed the "DES exposure checker", it renders science-grade images directly to a web browser and allows users to mark problematic features from a set of predefined classes. Users can also generate custom labels and thus help identify previously unknown problem classes. User reports are fed back to hardware and software experts to help mitigate and eliminate recognized issues. We report on the implementation of the application and our experience with its over 100 users, the majority of which are professional or prospective astronomers but not data management experts. We discuss aspects of user training and engagement, and demonstrate how problem reports have been pivotal to rapidly correct artifacts which would likely have been too subtle or infrequent to be recognized otherwise. We conclude with a number of important lessons learned, suggest possible improvements, and recommend this collective exploratory approach for future astronomical surveys or other extensive data sets with a sufficiently large user base. We also release open-source code of the web application and host an online demo version at http://des-exp-checker.pmelchior.net
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015
  • Source

    Preview · Article · Oct 2015 · The Astronomical Journal
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The Sloan Digital Sky Survey IV extended Baryonic Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (SDSS-IV/eBOSS) will observe approximately 270,000 emission-line galaxies (ELGs) to measure the Baryonic Acoustic Oscillation standard ruler (BAO) at redshift 0.9. To test different ELG selection algorithms, based on data from several imaging surveys, 9,000 spectra were observed with the SDSS spectrograph as a pilot survey. First, we provide a detailed description of each target selection algorithm tested. Then, using visual inspection and redshift quality flags, we find that the automated spectroscopic redshifts assigned by the pipeline meet the quality requirements for a robust BAO measurement. Also, we show the correlations between sky emission, signal-to-noise ratio in the emission lines and redshift error. As a result, we provide robust redshift distributions for the different target selection schemes tested. Finally, we infer two optimal target selection algorithms to be applied on DECam photometry that fulfill the eBOSS survey efficiency requirements.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We report the discovery of an excess of main sequence turn-off stars in the direction of the constellations of Eridanus and Phoenix from the first year data of the Dark Energy Survey (DES). The Eridanus-Phoenix (EriPhe) overdensity is centered around l~285 deg and b~-60 deg and spans at least 30 deg in longitude and 10 deg in latitude. The Poisson significance of the detection is at least 9 sigma. The stellar population in the overdense region is similar in brightness and color to that of the nearby globular cluster NGC 1261, indicating that the heliocentric distance of EriPhe is about d~16 kpc. The extent of EriPhe in projection is therefore at least ~4 kpc by ~3 kpc. On the sky, this overdensity is located between NGC 1261 and a new stellar stream discovered by DES at a similar heliocentric distance, the so-called Phoenix Stream. Given their similar distance and proximity to each other, it is possible that these three structures may be kinematically associated. Alternatively, the EriPhe overdensity is morphologically similar to the Virgo overdensity and the Hercules-Aquila cloud, which also lie at a similar Galactocentric distance. These three overdensities lie along a polar plane separated by ~120 deg and may share a common origin. Spectroscopic follow-up observations of the stars in EriPhe are required to fully understand the nature of this overdensity.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We report the discovery of a stellar stream in the Dark Energy Survey (DES) Year 1 (Y1A1) data. The discovery was made through simple color-magnitude filters and visual inspection of the Y1A1 data. We refer to this new object as the Phoenix stream, after its residing constellation. Through the subtraction of the background stellar population we detect a clear signal of a simple stellar population. By fitting the ridge line of the stream in color-magnitude space, we find that a stellar population with age $\tau=11.5\pm0.5$ Gyr and ${\rm [Fe/H]}<-1.6$ located 17.5$\pm$0.9 kpc from the Sun gives an adequate description of the stream stellar population. The stream is detected over an extension of 8$^{\circ}$.1 (2.5 kpc) and has a width of $\sim$54 pc assuming a Gaussian profile, indicating that a globular cluster is a probable progenitor. There is no known globular cluster within 5 kpc compatible with being the progenitor of the stream, assuming that the stream traces its orbit. We examined overdensities along the stream, however no obvious counterpart bound stellar system is visible in the coadded images. We also find overdensities along the stream that appear to be symmetrically distributed - consistent with the epicyclic overdensity scenario for the formation of cold streams - as well as a misalignment between the Northern and Southern part of stream. We find evidence that this stream and the halo cluster NGC 1261 might have a common accretion origin linked to the recently found EriPhe overdensity (Li et al. in preparation).
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We report the discovery of eight new ultra-faint dwarf galaxy candidates in the second year of optical imaging data from the Dark Energy Survey (DES). Six of these candidates are detected at high confidence, while two additional lower-confidence candidates are identified in regions of incomplete or non-uniform survey coverage. The new stellar systems are found using three independent automated search techniques, and are identified as statistically significant overdensities of individually resolved stars consistent with the isochrone and luminosity function of an old and metal-poor simple stellar population. The new systems are faint (Mv > -4.7 mag) and span a broad range of physical sizes (17 pc < $r_{1/2}$ < 181 pc) and heliocentric distances (25 kpc < D < 214 kpc). All of the new systems have central surface brightnesses (\mu > 27.5 mag arcsec$^2$) consistent with known ultra-faint dwarf galaxies. Roughly half of the DES candidates are more distant, less luminous, and/or have lower surface brightnesses than previously known Milky Way satellite galaxies, and would have had a low probability of detection if observed by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. A large fraction of satellite candidates are found in the southern half of the DES footprint in proximity to the Magellanic Clouds. We find that the DES data alone exclude (p < 0.001) a spatially isotropic distribution of Milky Way satellites, and that this distribution can be well, although not uniquely, explained by a model in which several of the observed DES satellites are associated with the Magellanic system. Including the current sample, our model predicts that ~100 ultra-faint galaxies with physical properties comparable to the DES satellites might exist over the full sky and that 20-30% of these would be spatially associated with the Magellanic Clouds.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The Dark Energy Survey (DES) is a 5000 sq. degree survey in the southern hemisphere, which is rapidly reducing the existing north-south asymmetry in the census of MW satellites and other stellar substructure. We use the first-year DES data down to previously unprobed photometric depths to search for stellar systems in the Galactic halo, therefore complementing the previous analysis of the same data carried out by our group earlier this year. Our search is based on a matched filter algorithm that produces stellar density maps consistent with stellar population models of various ages, metallicities, and distances over the survey area. The most conspicuous density peaks in these maps have been identified automatically and ranked according to their significance and recurrence for different input models. We report the discovery of one additional stellar system besides those previously found by several authors using the same first-year DES data. The object is compact, and consistent with being dominated by an old and metal-poor population. DES J0034-4902 is found at high significance and appears in the DES images as a compact concentration of faint blue point sources at ~ 87 {kpc}. Its half-light radius of r_h = 9.88 +/- 4.31 {pc} and total luminosity of M_V ~ -3.05_{-0.42}^{+0.69} are consistent with it being a low mass halo cluster. It is also found to have a very elongated shape. In addition, our deeper probe of DES 1st year data confirms the recently reported satellite galaxy candidate Horologium II as a significant stellar overdensity. We also infer its structural properties and compare them to those reported in the literature.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Accurate statistical measurement with large imaging surveys has traditionally required throwing away a sizable fraction of the data. This is because most measurements have have relied on selecting nearly complete samples, where variations in the composition of the galaxy population with seeing, depth, or other survey characteristics are small. We introduce a new measurement method that aims to minimize this wastage, allowing precision measurement for any class of stars or galaxies detectable in an imaging survey. We have implemented our proposal in Balrog, a software package which embeds fake objects in real imaging in order to accurately characterize measurement biases. We demonstrate this technique with an angular clustering measurement using Dark Energy Survey (DES) data. We first show that recovery of our injected galaxies depends on a wide variety of survey characteristics in the same way as the real data. We then construct a flux-limited sample of the faintest galaxies in DES, chosen specifically for their sensitivity to depth and seeing variations. Using the synthetic galaxies as randoms in the standard Landy-Szalay correlation function estimator suppresses the effects of variable survey selection by at least two orders of magnitude. With this correction, our measured angular clustering is found to be in excellent agreement with that of a matched sample drawn from much deeper, higher-resolution space-based COSMOS imaging; over angular scales of $0.004^{\circ} < \theta < 0.2^{\circ}$, we find a best-fit scaling amplitude between the DES and COSMOS measurements of $1.00 \pm 0.09$. We expect this methodology to be broadly useful for extending the statistical reach of measurements in a wide variety of coming imaging surveys.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We present photometric redshift estimates for galaxies used in the weak lensing analysis of the Dark Energy Survey Science Verification (DES SV) data. Four model- or machine learning-based photometric redshift methods -- ANNZ2, BPZ calibrated against BCC-Ufig simulations, SkyNet, and TPZ -- are analysed. For training, calibration, and testing of these methods, we construct a catalogue of spectroscopically confirmed galaxies matched against DES SV data. The performance of the methods is evaluated against the matched spectroscopic catalogue, focusing on metrics relevant for weak lensing analyses, with additional validation against COSMOS photo-zs. From the galaxies in the DES SV shear catalogue, which have mean redshift $0.72\pm0.01$ over the range $0.3<z<1.3$, we construct three tomographic bins with means of $z=\{0.45, 0.67, 1.00\}$. These bins each have systematic uncertainties $\delta z \lesssim 0.05$ in the mean of the fiducial SkyNet photo-z $n(z)$. We propagate the errors in the redshift distributions through to their impact on cosmological parameters estimated with cosmic shear, and find that they cause shifts in the value of $\sigma_8$ of approx. 3%. This shift is within the one sigma statistical errors on $\sigma_8$ for the DES SV shear catalog. We further study the potential impact of systematic differences on the critical surface density, $\Sigma_{\mathrm{crit}}$, finding levels of bias safely less than the statistical power of DES SV data. We recommend a final Gaussian prior for the photo-z bias in the mean of $n(z)$ of width $0.05$ for each of the three tomographic bins, and show that this is a sufficient bias model for the corresponding cosmology analysis.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We present weak lensing shear catalogs for 139 square degrees of data taken during the Science Verification (SV) time for the new Dark Energy Camera (DECam) being used for the Dark Energy Survey (DES). We describe our object selection, point spread function estimation and shear measurement procedures using two independent shear pipelines, IM3SHAPE and NGMIX, which produce catalogs of 2.12 million and 3.44 million galaxies respectively. We detail a set of null tests for the shear measurements and find that they pass the requirements for systematic errors at the level necessary for weak lensing science applications using the SV data. We also discuss some of the planned algorithmic improvements that will be necessary to produce sufficiently accurate shear catalogs for the full 5-year DES, which is expected to cover 5000 square degrees.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Spatially-varying depth and characteristics of observing conditions, such as seeing, airmass, or sky background, are major sources of systematic uncertainties in modern galaxy survey analyses, in particular in deep multi-epoch surveys. We present a framework to extract and project these sources of systematics onto the sky, and apply it to the Dark Energy Survey (DES) to map the observing conditions of the Science Verification (SV) data. The resulting distributions and maps of sources of systematics are used in several analyses of DES SV to perform detailed null tests with the data, and also to incorporate systematics in survey simulations. We illustrate the complementarity of these two approaches by comparing the SV data with the BCC-UFig, a synthetic sky catalogue generated by forward-modelling of the DES SV images. We analyse the BCC-UFig simulation to construct galaxy samples mimicking those used in SV galaxy clustering studies. We show that the spatially-varying survey depth imprinted in the observed galaxy densities and the redshift distributions of the SV data are successfully reproduced by the simulation and well-captured by the maps of observing conditions. The combined use of the maps, the SV data and the BCC-UFig simulation allows us to quantify the impact of spatial systematics on $N(z)$, the redshift distributions inferred using photometric redshifts. We conclude that spatial systematics in the SV data are mainly due to seeing fluctuations and are under control in current clustering and weak lensing analyses. The framework presented here is relevant to all multi-epoch surveys, and will be essential for exploiting future surveys such as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), which will require detailed null-tests and realistic end-to-end image simulations to correctly interpret the deep, high-cadence observations of the sky.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015

Publication Stats

2k Citations
321.47 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2015
    • University of Michigan
      Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
  • 2014
    • University of Cambridge
      Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
  • 2013
    • Universidad de La Laguna
      • Department of Astrophysics
      San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Canary Islands, Spain
  • 2003
    • Carnegie Mellon University
      • Department of Physics
      Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 1995-2003
    • European Southern Observatory
      Arching, Bavaria, Germany
  • 1987-1999
    • The Astronomical Observatory of Brera
      Merate, Lombardy, Italy
  • 1988
    • Observatório Nacional
      Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • 1985
    • University of Oklahoma
      Norman, Oklahoma, United States
  • 1984
    • Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
      • Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States