skip to main content


Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Agnello, A"

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. ABSTRACT

    We report the spectroscopic follow-up of 175 lensed quasar candidates selected using Gaia Data Release 2 observations following Paper III of this series. Systems include 86 confirmed lensed quasars and a further 17 likely lensed quasars based on imaging and/or similar spectra. We also confirm 11 projected quasar pairs and 11 physical quasar pairs, while 25 systems are left as unclassified quasar pairs – pairs of quasars at the same redshift, which could be either distinct quasars or potential lensed quasars. Especially interesting objects include eight quadruply imaged quasars of which two have BAL sources, an apparent triple, and a doubly lensed LoBaL quasar. The source redshifts and image separations of these new lenses range between 0.65–3.59 and 0.78–6.23 arcsec, respectively. We compare the known population of lensed quasars to an updated mock catalogue at image separations between 1 and 4 arcsec, showing a very good match at z < 1.5. At z > 1.5, only 47 per cent of the predicted number are known, with 56 per cent of these missing lenses at image separations below 1.5 arcsec. The missing higher redshift, small-separation systems will have fainter lensing galaxies, and are partially explained by the unclassified quasar pairs and likely lenses presented in this work, which require deeper imaging. Of the 11 new reported projected quasar pairs, 5 have impact parameters below 10 kpc, almost tripling the number of such systems, which can probe the innermost regions of quasar host galaxies through absorption studies. We also report four new lensed galaxies discovered through our searches, with source redshifts ranging from 0.62 to 2.79.

     
    more » « less
  2. The importance of alternative methods for measuring the Hubble constant, such as time-delay cosmography, is highlighted by the recent Hubble tension. It is paramount to thoroughly investigate and rule out systematic biases in all measurement methods before we can accept new physics as the source of this tension. In this study, we perform a check for systematic biases in the lens modelling procedure of time-delay cosmography by comparing independent and blind time-delay predictions of the system WGD 2038−4008 from two teams using two different software programs:GLEEandLENSTRONOMY. The predicted time delays from the two teams incorporate the stellar kinematics of the deflector and the external convergence from line-of-sight structures. The un-blinded time-delay predictions from the two teams agree within 1.2σ, implying that once the time delay is measured the inferred Hubble constant will also be mutually consistent. However, there is a ∼4σdiscrepancy between the power-law model slope and external shear, which is a significant discrepancy at the level of lens models before the stellar kinematics and the external convergence are incorporated. We identify the difference in the reconstructed point spread function (PSF) to be the source of this discrepancy. When the same reconstructed PSF was used by both teams, we achieved excellent agreement, within ∼0.6σ, indicating that potential systematics stemming from source reconstruction algorithms and investigator choices are well under control. We recommend that future studies supersample the PSF as needed and marginalize over multiple algorithms or realizations for the PSF reconstruction to mitigate the systematics associated with the PSF. A future study will measure the time delays of the system WGD 2038−4008 and infer the Hubble constant based on our mass models.

     
    more » « less
  3. ABSTRACT

    Gravitational time delays provide a powerful one-step measurement of H0, independent of all other probes. One key ingredient in time-delay cosmography are high-accuracy lens models. Those are currently expensive to obtain, both, in terms of computing and investigator time (105–106 CPU hours and ∼0.5–1 yr, respectively). Major improvements in modelling speed are therefore necessary to exploit the large number of lenses that are forecast to be discovered over the current decade. In order to bypass this roadblock, we develop an automated modelling pipeline and apply it to a sample of 31 lens systems, observed by the Hubble Space Telescope in multiple bands. Our automated pipeline can derive models for 30/31 lenses with few hours of human time and <100 CPU hours of computing time for a typical system. For each lens, we provide measurements of key parameters and predictions of magnification as well as time delays for the multiple images. We characterize the cosmography-readiness of our models using the stability of differences in the Fermat potential (proportional to time delay) with respect to modelling choices. We find that for 10/30 lenses, our models are cosmography or nearly cosmography grade (<3 per cent and 3–5 per cent variations). For 6/30 lenses, the models are close to cosmography grade (5–10 per cent). These results utilize informative priors and will need to be confirmed by further analysis. However, they are also likely to improve by extending the pipeline modelling sequence and options. In conclusion, we show that uniform cosmography grade modelling of large strong lens samples is within reach.

     
    more » « less
  4. ABSTRACT The magnifications of compact-source lenses are extremely sensitive to the presence of low-mass dark matter haloes along the entire sightline from the source to the observer. Traditionally, the study of dark matter structure in compact-source strong gravitational lenses has been limited to radio-loud systems, as the radio emission is extended and thus unaffected by microlensing which can mimic the signal of dark matter structure. An alternate approach is to measure quasar nuclear-narrow-line emission, which is free from microlensing and present in virtually all quasar lenses. In this paper, we double the number of systems which can be used for gravitational lensing analyses by presenting measurements of narrow-line emission from a sample of eight quadruply imaged quasar lens systems, WGD J0405−3308, HS 0810+2554, RX J0911+0551, SDSS J1330+1810, PS J1606−2333, WFI 2026−4536, WFI 2033−4723, and WGD J2038−4008. We describe our updated grism spectral modelling pipeline, which we use to measure narrow-line fluxes with uncertainties of 2–10 per cent, presented here. We fit the lensed image positions with smooth mass models and demonstrate that these models fail to produce the observed distribution of image fluxes over the entire sample of lenses. Furthermore, typical deviations are larger than those expected from macromodel uncertainties. This discrepancy indicates the presence of perturbations caused by small-scale dark matter structure. The interpretation of this result in terms of dark matter models is presented in a companion paper. 
    more » « less
  5. null (Ed.)
    We present six new time-delay measurements obtained from R c -band monitoring data acquired at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics (MPIA) 2.2 m telescope at La Silla observatory between October 2016 and February 2020. The lensed quasars HE 0047−1756, WG 0214−2105, DES 0407−5006, 2M 1134−2103, PSJ 1606−2333, and DES 2325−5229 were observed almost daily at high signal-to-noise ratio to obtain high-quality light curves where we can record fast and small-amplitude variations of the quasars. We measured time delays between all pairs of multiple images with only one or two seasons of monitoring with the exception of the time delays relative to image D of PSJ 1606−2333. The most precise estimate was obtained for the delay between image A and image B of DES 0407−5006, where τ AB = −128.4 −3.8 +3.5 d (2.8% precision) including systematics due to extrinsic variability in the light curves. For HE 0047−1756, we combined our high-cadence data with measurements from decade-long light curves from previous COSMOGRAIL campaigns, and reach a precision of 0.9 d on the final measurement. The present work demonstrates the feasibility of measuring time delays in lensed quasars in only one or two seasons, provided high signal-to-noise ratio data are obtained at a cadence close to daily. 
    more » « less
  6. null (Ed.)
    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 is 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. 
    more » « less
  7. ABSTRACT Strongly lensed quadruply imaged quasars (quads) are extraordinary objects. They are very rare in the sky and yet they provide unique information about a wide range of topics, including the expansion history and the composition of the Universe, the distribution of stars and dark matter in galaxies, the host galaxies of quasars, and the stellar initial mass function. Finding them in astronomical images is a classic ‘needle in a haystack’ problem, as they are outnumbered by other (contaminant) sources by many orders of magnitude. To solve this problem, we develop state-of-the-art deep learning methods and train them on realistic simulated quads based on real images of galaxies taken from the Dark Energy Survey, with realistic source and deflector models, including the chromatic effects of microlensing. The performance of the best methods on a mixture of simulated and real objects is excellent, yielding area under the receiver operating curve in the range of 0.86–0.89. Recall is close to 100 per cent down to total magnitude i ∼ 21 indicating high completeness, while precision declines from 85 per cent to 70 per cent in the range i ∼ 17–21. The methods are extremely fast: training on 2 million samples takes 20 h on a GPU machine, and 108 multiband cut-outs can be evaluated per GPU-hour. The speed and performance of the method pave the way to apply it to large samples of astronomical sources, bypassing the need for photometric pre-selection that is likely to be a major cause of incompleteness in current samples of known quads. 
    more » « less
  8. 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 velocity 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. 
    more » « less