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  1. 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 realisticmore »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.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 5, 2023
  2. 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 formore »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.« less
  3. 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
  4. 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 delaysmore »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.« less
  5. 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
  6. ABSTRACT In time-delay cosmography, three of the key ingredients are (1) determining the velocity dispersion of the lensing galaxy, (2) identifying galaxies and groups along the line of sight with sufficient proximity and mass to be included in the mass model, and (3) estimating the external convergence κext from less massive structures that are not included in the mass model. We present results on all three of these ingredients for two time-delay lensed quad quasar systems, DES J0408–5354 and WGD 2038–4008 . We use the Gemini, Magellan, and VLT telescopes to obtain spectra to both measure the stellar velocity dispersions of the main lensingmore »galaxies and to identify the line-of-sight galaxies in these systems. Next, we identify 10 groups in DES J0408–5354 and two groups in WGD 2038–4008 using a group-finding algorithm. We then identify the most significant galaxy and galaxy-group perturbers using the ‘flexion shift’ criterion. We determine the probability distribution function of the external convergence κext for both of these systems based on our spectroscopy and on the DES-only multiband wide-field observations. Using weighted galaxy counts, calibrated based on the Millennium Simulation, we find that DES J0408–5354 is located in a significantly underdense environment, leading to a tight (width $\sim 3{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$), negative-value κext distribution. On the other hand, WGD 2038–4008 is located in an environment of close to unit density, and its low source redshift results in a much tighter κext of $\sim 1{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$, as long as no external shear constraints are imposed.« less
  7. ABSTRACT We report the results of the STRong lensing Insights into the Dark Energy Survey (STRIDES) follow-up campaign of the late 2017/early 2018 season. We obtained spectra of 65 lensed quasar candidates with ESO Faint Object Spectrograph and Camera 2 on the NTT and Echellette Spectrograph and Imager on Keck, confirming 10 new lensed quasars and 10 quasar pairs. Eight lensed quasars are doubly imaged with source redshifts between 0.99 and 2.90, one is triply imaged (DESJ0345−2545, z = 1.68), and one is quadruply imaged (quad: DESJ0053−2012, z = 3.8). Singular isothermal ellipsoid models for the doubles, based on high-resolution imaging frommore »SAMI on Southern Astrophysical Research Telescope or Near InfraRed Camera 2 on Keck, give total magnifications between 3.2 and 5.6, and Einstein radii between 0.49 and 1.97 arcsec. After spectroscopic follow-up, we extract multi-epoch grizY photometry of confirmed lensed quasars and contaminant quasar + star pairs from DES data using parametric multiband modelling, and compare variability in each system’s components. By measuring the reduced χ2 associated with fitting all epochs to the same magnitude, we find a simple cut on the less variable component that retains all confirmed lensed quasars, while removing 94 per cent of contaminant systems. Based on our spectroscopic follow-up, this variability information improves selection of lensed quasars and quasar pairs from 34-45 per cent to 51–70 per cent, with most remaining contaminants being star-forming galaxies. Using mock lensed quasar light curves we demonstrate that selection based only on variability will over-represent the quad fraction by 10 per cent over a complete DES magnitude-limited sample, explained by the magnification bias and hence lower luminosity/more variable sources in quads.« less