skip to main content

Title: TDCOSMO III: Dark matter substructure meets dark energy -- the effects of (sub)halos on strong-lensing measurements of H0
Time delay cosmography uses the arrival time delays between images in strong gravitational lenses to measure cosmological parameters, in particular the Hubble constant H0. The lens models used in time delay cosmography omit dark matter subhalos and line-of-sight halos because their effects are assumed to be negligible. We explicitly quantify this assumption by analyzing realistic mock lens systems that include full populations of dark matter subhalos and line-of-sight halos, applying the same modeling assumptions used in the literature to infer H0. We base the mock lenses on six quadruply-imaged quasars that have delivered measurements of the Hubble constant, and quantify the additional uncertainties and/or bias on a lens-by-lens basis. We show that omitting dark substructure does not bias inferences of H0. However, perturbations from substructure contribute an additional source of random uncertainty in the inferred value of H0 that scales as the square root of the lensing volume divided by the longest time delay. This additional source of uncertainty, for which we provide a fitting function, ranges from 0.6−2.4%. It may need to be incorporated in the error budget as the precision of cosmographic inferences from single lenses improves, and sets a precision limit on inferences from single lenses.
Authors:
; ;
Award ID(s):
1714953 1906976
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10175653
Journal Name:
Astronomy astrophysics
ISSN:
0004-6361
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Time delay cosmography uses the arrival time delays between images in strong gravitational lenses to measure cosmological parameters, in particular the Hubble constant H 0 . The lens models used in time delay cosmography omit dark matter subhalos and line-of-sight halos because their effects are assumed to be negligible. We explicitly quantify this assumption by analyzing mock lens systems that include full populations of dark matter subhalos and line-of-sight halos, applying the same modeling assumptions used in the literature to infer H 0 . We base the mock lenses on six quadruply imaged quasars that have delivered measurements of themore »Hubble constant, and quantify the additional uncertainties and/or bias on a lens-by-lens basis. We show that omitting dark substructure does not bias inferences of H 0 . However, perturbations from substructure contribute an additional source of random uncertainty in the inferred value of H 0 that scales as the square root of the lensing volume divided by the longest time delay. This additional source of uncertainty, for which we provide a fitting function, ranges from 0.7 − 2.4%. It may need to be incorporated in the error budget as the precision of cosmographic inferences from single lenses improves, and it sets a precision limit on inferences from single lenses.« less
  2. ABSTRACT Strongly lensed explosive transients such as supernovae, gamma-ray bursts, fast radio bursts, and gravitational waves are very promising tools to determine the Hubble constant (H0) in the near future in addition to strongly lensed quasars. In this work, we show that the transient nature of the point source provides an advantage over quasars: The lensed host galaxy can be observed before or after the transient’s appearance. Therefore, the lens model can be derived from images free of contamination from bright point sources. We quantify this advantage by comparing the precision of a lens model obtained from the same lensesmore »with and without point sources. Based on Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) observations with the same sets of lensing parameters, we simulate realistic mock data sets of 48 quasar lensing systems (i.e. adding AGN in the galaxy centre) and 48 galaxy–galaxy lensing systems (assuming the transient source is not visible but the time delay and image positions have been or will be measured). We then model the images and compare the inferences of the lens model parameters and H0. We find that the precision of the lens models (in terms of the deflector mass slope) is better by a factor of 4.1 for the sample without lensed point sources, resulting in an increase of H0 precision by a factor of 2.9. The opportunity to observe the lens systems without the transient point sources provides an additional advantage for time-delay cosmography over lensed quasars. It facilitates the determination of higher signal-to-noise stellar kinematics of the main deflector, and thus its mass density profile, which, in turn plays a key role in breaking the mass-sheet degeneracy and constraining H0.« less
  3. ABSTRACT We present the measurement of the Hubble constant, H0, with three strong gravitational lens systems. We describe a blind analysis of both PG 1115+080 and HE 0435−1223 as well as an extension of our previous analysis of RXJ 1131−1231. For each lens, we combine new adaptive optics (AO) imaging from the Keck Telescope, obtained as part of the SHARP (Strong-lensing High Angular Resolution Programme) AO effort, with Hubble Space Telescope (HST) imaging, velocity dispersion measurements, and a description of the line-of-sight mass distribution to build an accurate and precise lens mass model. This mass model is then combined with the COSMOGRAIL-measured time delays inmore »these systems to determine H0. We do both an AO-only and an AO + HST analysis of the systems and find that AO and HST results are consistent. After unblinding, the AO-only analysis gives $H_{0}=82.8^{+9.4}_{-8.3}~\rm km\, s^{-1}\, Mpc^{-1}$ for PG 1115+080, $H_{0}=70.1^{+5.3}_{-4.5}~\rm km\, s^{-1}\, Mpc^{-1}$ for HE 0435−1223, and $H_{0}=77.0^{+4.0}_{-4.6}~\rm km\, s^{-1}\, Mpc^{-1}$ for RXJ 1131−1231. The joint AO-only result for the three lenses is $H_{0}=75.6^{+3.2}_{-3.3}~\rm km\, s^{-1}\, Mpc^{-1}$. The joint result of the AO + HST analysis for the three lenses is $H_{0}=76.8^{+2.6}_{-2.6}~\rm km\, s^{-1}\, Mpc^{-1}$. All of these results assume a flat Λ cold dark matter cosmology with a uniform prior on Ωm in [0.05, 0.5] and H0 in [0, 150] $\rm km\, s^{-1}\, Mpc^{-1}$. This work is a collaboration of the SHARP and H0LiCOW teams, and shows that AO data can be used as the high-resolution imaging component in lens-based measurements of H0. The full time-delay cosmography results from a total of six strongly lensed systems are presented in a companion paper.« less
  4. Time-delay cosmography of lensed quasars has achieved 2.4% precision on the measurement of the Hubble constant, H 0 . As part of an ongoing effort to uncover and control systematic uncertainties, we investigate three potential sources: 1- stellar kinematics, 2- line-of-sight effects, and 3- the deflector mass model. To meet this goal in a quantitative way, we reproduced the H0LiCOW/SHARP/STRIDES (hereafter TDCOSMO) procedures on a set of real and simulated data, and we find the following. First, stellar kinematics cannot be a dominant source of error or bias since we find that a systematic change of 10% of measured velocitymore »dispersion leads to only a 0.7% shift on H 0 from the seven lenses analyzed by TDCOSMO. Second, we find no bias to arise from incorrect estimation of the line-of-sight effects. Third, we show that elliptical composite (stars + dark matter halo), power-law, and cored power-law mass profiles have the flexibility to yield a broad range in H 0 values. However, the TDCOSMO procedures that model the data with both composite and power-law mass profiles are informative. If the models agree, as we observe in real systems owing to the “bulge-halo” conspiracy, H 0 is recovered precisely and accurately by both models. If the two models disagree, as in the case of some pathological models illustrated here, the TDCOSMO procedure either discriminates between them through the goodness of fit, or it accounts for the discrepancy in the final error bars provided by the analysis. This conclusion is consistent with a reanalysis of six of the TDCOSMO (real) lenses: the composite model yields H 0 = 74.0 −1.8 +1.7 km s −1 Mpc −1 , while the power-law model yields 74.2 −1.6 +1.6 km s −1 Mpc −1 . In conclusion, we find no evidence of bias or errors larger than the current statistical uncertainties reported by TDCOSMO.« less
  5. The H0LiCOW collaboration inferred via strong gravitational lensing time delays a Hubble constant value of H 0 = 73.3 −1.8 +1.7 km s −1 Mpc −1 , describing deflector mass density profiles by either a power-law or stars (constant mass-to-light ratio) plus standard dark matter halos. The mass-sheet transform (MST) that leaves the lensing observables unchanged is considered the dominant source of residual uncertainty in H 0 . We quantify any potential effect of the MST with a flexible family of mass models, which directly encodes it, and they are hence maximally degenerate with H 0 . Our calculation ismore »based on a new hierarchical Bayesian approach in which the MST is only constrained by stellar kinematics. The approach is validated on mock lenses, which are generated from hydrodynamic simulations. We first applied the inference to the TDCOSMO sample of seven lenses, six of which are from H0LiCOW, and measured H 0 = 74.5 −6.1 +5.6 km s −1 Mpc −1 . Secondly, in order to further constrain the deflector mass density profiles, we added imaging and spectroscopy for a set of 33 strong gravitational lenses from the Sloan Lens ACS (SLACS) sample. For nine of the 33 SLAC lenses, we used resolved kinematics to constrain the stellar anisotropy. From the joint hierarchical analysis of the TDCOSMO+SLACS sample, we measured H 0 = 67.4 −3.2 +4.1 km s −1 Mpc −1 . This measurement assumes that the TDCOSMO and SLACS galaxies are drawn from the same parent population. The blind H0LiCOW, TDCOSMO-only and TDCOSMO+SLACS analyses are in mutual statistical agreement. The TDCOSMO+SLACS analysis prefers marginally shallower mass profiles than H0LiCOW or TDCOSMO-only. Without relying on the form of the mass density profile used by H0LiCOW, we achieve a ∼5% measurement of H 0 . While our new hierarchical analysis does not statistically invalidate the mass profile assumptions by H0LiCOW – and thus the H 0 measurement relying on them – it demonstrates the importance of understanding the mass density profile of elliptical galaxies. The uncertainties on H 0 derived in this paper can be reduced by physical or observational priors on the form of the mass profile, or by additional data.« less