Stronglensing time delays enable the measurement of the Hubble constant ( H 0 ) independently of other traditional methods. The main limitation to the precision of timedelay cosmography is masssheet degeneracy (MSD). Some of the previous TDCOSMO analyses broke the MSD by making standard assumptions about the mass density profile of the lens galaxy, reaching 2% precision from seven lenses. However, this approach could potentially bias the H 0 measurement or underestimate the errors. For this work, we broke the MSD for the first time using spatially resolved kinematics of the lens galaxy in RXJ1131−1231 obtained from the Keck Cosmic Web Imager spectroscopy, in combination with previously published time delay and lens models derived from Hubble Space Telescope imaging. This approach allowed us to robustly estimate H 0 , effectively implementing a maximally flexible mass model. Following a blind analysis, we estimated the angular diameter distance to the lens galaxy D d = 865 −81 +85 Mpc and the timedelay distance D Δt = 2180 −271 +472 Mpc, giving H 0 = 77.1 −7.1 +7.3 km s −1 Mpc −1 – for a flat Λ cold dark matter cosmology. The error budget accounts for all uncertainties, including the MSD inherent to the lens mass profile and lineofsight effects, and those related to the mass–anisotropy degeneracy and projection effects. Our new measurement is in excellent agreement with those obtained in the past using standard simply parametrized mass profiles for this single system ( H 0 = 78.3 −3.3 +3.4 km s −1 Mpc −1 ) and for seven lenses ( H 0 = 74.2 −1.6 +1.6 km s −1 Mpc −1 ), or for seven lenses using singleaperture kinematics and the same maximally flexible models used by us ( H 0 = 73.3 −5.8 +5.8 km s −1 Mpc −1 ). This agreement corroborates the methodology of timedelay cosmography.
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TDCOSMO: V. Strategies for precise and accurate measurements of the Hubble constant with strong lensing
Strong lensing time delays can measure the Hubble constant H 0 independently of any other probe. Assuming commonly used forms for the radial mass density profile of the lenses, a 2% precision has been achieved with seven TimeDelay Cosmography (TDCOSMO) lenses, in tension with the H 0 from the cosmic microwave background. However, without assumptions on the radial mass density profile – and relying exclusively on stellar kinematics to break the masssheet degeneracy – the precision drops to 8% with the current data obtained using the seven TDCOSMO lenses, which is insufficient to resolve the H 0 tension. With the addition of external information from 33 Sloan Lens ACS (SLACS) lenses, the precision improves to 5% if the deflectors of TDCOSMO and SLACS lenses are drawn from the same population. We investigate the prospect of improving the precision of timedelay cosmography without relying on mass profile assumptions to break the masssheet degeneracy. Our forecasts are based on a previously published hierarchical framework. With existing samples and technology, 3.3% precision on H 0 can be reached by adding spatially resolved kinematics of the seven TDCOSMO lenses. The precision improves to 2.5% with the further addition of kinematics for 50 nontimedelay lenses from SLACS and the Strong Lensing Legacy Survey. Expanding the samples to 40 timedelay and 200 nontimedelay lenses will improve the precision to 1.5% and 1.2%, respectively. Timedelay cosmography can reach sufficient precision to resolve the Hubble tension at 3–5 σ , without assumptions on the radial mass profile of lens galaxies. By obtaining this precision with and without external datasets, we will test the consistency of the samples and enable further improvements based on even larger future samples of timedelay and nontimedelay lenses (e.g., from the Rubin , Euclid , and Roman Observatories).
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 Award ID(s):
 1906976
 NSFPAR ID:
 10287445
 Date Published:
 Journal Name:
 Astronomy & Astrophysics
 Volume:
 649
 ISSN:
 00046361
 Page Range / eLocation ID:
 A61
 Format(s):
 Medium: X
 Sponsoring Org:
 National Science Foundation
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