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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 30, 2022
  2. Abstract On 2019 August 14 at 21:10:39 UTC, the LIGO/Virgo Collaboration (LVC) detected a possible neutron star–black hole merger (NSBH), the first ever identified. An extensive search for an optical counterpart of this event, designated GW190814, was undertaken using the Dark Energy Camera on the 4 m Victor M. Blanco Telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory. Target of Opportunity interrupts were issued on eight separate nights to observe 11 candidates using the 4.1 m Southern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) telescope’s Goodman High Throughput Spectrograph in order to assess whether any of these transients was likely to be an optical counterpartmore »of the possible NSBH merger. Here, we describe the process of observing with SOAR, the analysis of our spectra, our spectroscopic typing methodology, and our resultant conclusion that none of the candidates corresponded to the gravitational wave merger event but were all instead other transients. Finally, we describe the lessons learned from this effort. Application of these lessons will be critical for a successful community spectroscopic follow-up program for LVC observing run 4 (O4) and beyond.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 16, 2022
  4. ABSTRACT We present measurements of the radial profiles of the mass and galaxy number density around Sunyaev–Zel’dovich (SZ)-selected clusters using both weak lensing and galaxy counts. The clusters are selected from the Atacama Cosmology Telescope Data Release 5 and the galaxies from the Dark Energy Survey Year 3 data set. With signal-to-noise ratio of 62 (45) for galaxy (weak lensing) profiles over scales of about 0.2–20 h−1 Mpc, these are the highest precision measurements for SZ-selected clusters to date. Because SZ selection closely approximates mass selection, these measurements enable several tests of theoretical models of the mass and light distribution aroundmore »clusters. Our main findings are: (1) The splashback feature is detected at a consistent location in both the mass and galaxy profiles and its location is consistent with predictions of cold dark matter N-body simulations. (2) The full mass profile is also consistent with the simulations. (3) The shapes of the galaxy and lensing profiles are remarkably similar for our sample over the entire range of scales, from well inside the cluster halo to the quasilinear regime. We measure the dependence of the profile shapes on the galaxy sample, redshift, and cluster mass. We extend the Diemer & Kravtsov model for the cluster profiles to the linear regime using perturbation theory and show that it provides a good match to the measured profiles. We also compare the measured profiles to predictions of the standard halo model and simulations that include hydrodynamics. Applications of these results to cluster mass estimation, cosmology, and astrophysics are discussed.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 20, 2022
  5. ABSTRACT We introduce a new software package for modelling the point spread function (PSF) of astronomical images, called piff (PSFs In the Full FOV), which we apply to the first three years (known as Y3) of the Dark Energy Survey (DES) data. We describe the relevant details about the algorithms used by piff to model the PSF, including how the PSF model varies across the field of view (FOV). Diagnostic results show that the systematic errors from the PSF modelling are very small over the range of scales that are important for the DES Y3 weak lensing analysis. In particular,more »the systematic errors from the PSF modelling are significantly smaller than the corresponding results from the DES year one (Y1) analysis. We also briefly describe some planned improvements to piff that we expect to further reduce the modelling errors in future analyses.« less
  6. ABSTRACT For ground-based optical imaging with current CCD technology, the Poisson fluctuations in source and sky background photon arrivals dominate the noise budget and are readily estimated. Another component of noise, however, is the signal from the undetected population of stars and galaxies. Using injection of artifical galaxies into images, we demonstrate that the measured variance of galaxy moments (used for weak gravitational lensing measurements) in Dark Energy Survey (DES) images is significantly in excess of the Poisson predictions, by up to 30 per cent, and that the background sky levels are overestimated by current software. By cross-correlating distinct images of ‘empty’more »sky regions, we establish that there is a significant image noise contribution from undetected static sources (US), which, on average, are mildly resolved at DES resolution. Treating these US as a stationary noise source, we compute a correction to the moment covariance matrix expected from Poisson noise. The corrected covariance matrix matches the moment variances measured on the injected DES images to within 5 per cent. Thus, we have an empirical method to statistically account for US in weak lensing measurements, rather than requiring extremely deep sky simulations. We also find that local sky determinations can remove most of the bias in flux measurements, at a small penalty in additional, but quantifiable, noise.« less