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  1. ABSTRACT We study the optical gri photometric variability of a sample of 190 quasars within the SDSS Stripe 82 region that have long-term photometric coverage during ∼1998−2020 with SDSS, PanSTARRS-1, the Dark Energy Survey, and dedicated follow-up monitoring with Blanco 4m/DECam. With on average ∼200 nightly epochs per quasar per filter band, we improve the parameter constraints from a Damped Random Walk (DRW) model fit to the light curves over previous studies with 10–15 yr baselines and ≲ 100 epochs. We find that the average damping time-scale τDRW continues to rise with increased baseline, reaching a median value of ∼750 d (gmore »band) in the rest frame of these quasars using the 20-yr light curves. Some quasars may have gradual, long-term trends in their light curves, suggesting that either the DRW fit requires very long baselines to converge, or that the underlying variability is more complex than a single DRW process for these quasars. Using a subset of quasars with better-constrained τDRW (less than 20 per cent of the baseline), we confirm a weak wavelength dependence of τDRW∝λ0.51 ± 0.20. We further quantify optical variability of these quasars over days to decades time-scales using structure function (SF) and power spectrum density (PSD) analyses. The SF and PSD measurements qualitatively confirm the measured (hundreds of days) damping time-scales from the DRW fits. However, the ensemble PSD is steeper than that of a DRW on time-scales less than ∼ a month for these luminous quasars, and this second break point correlates with the longer DRW damping time-scale.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 2, 2023
  2. Abstract We present the results of an analysis of Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) observations of the full 2500 deg 2 South Pole Telescope (SPT)-Sunyaev–Zel’dovich cluster sample. We describe a process for identifying active galactic nuclei (AGN) in brightest cluster galaxies (BCGs) based on WISE mid-IR color and redshift. Applying this technique to the BCGs of the SPT-SZ sample, we calculate the AGN-hosting BCG fraction, which is defined as the fraction of BCGs hosting bright central AGNs over all possible BCGs. Assuming an evolving single-burst stellar population model, we find statistically significant evidence (>99.9%) for a mid-IR excess at highmore »redshift compared to low redshift, suggesting that the fraction of AGN-hosting BCGs increases with redshift over the range of 0 < z < 1.3. The best-fit redshift trend of the AGN-hosting BCG fraction has the form (1 + z ) 4.1±1.0 . These results are consistent with previous studies in galaxy clusters as well as as in field galaxies. One way to explain this result is that member galaxies at high redshift tend to have more cold gas. While BCGs in nearby galaxy clusters grow mostly by dry mergers with cluster members, leading to no increase in AGN activity, BCGs at high redshift could primarily merge with gas-rich satellites, providing fuel for feeding AGNs. If this observed increase in AGN activity is linked to gas-rich mergers rather than ICM cooling, we would expect to see an increase in scatter in the P cav versus L cool relation at z > 1. Last, this work confirms that the runaway cooling phase, as predicted by the classical cooling-flow model, in the Phoenix cluster is extremely rare and most BCGs have low (relative to Eddington) black hole accretion rates.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 3, 2023
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 30, 2022
  4. ABSTRACT We perform a cross validation of the cluster catalogue selected by the red-sequence Matched-filter Probabilistic Percolation algorithm (redMaPPer) in Dark Energy Survey year 1 (DES-Y1) data by matching it with the Sunyaev–Zel’dovich effect (SZE) selected cluster catalogue from the South Pole Telescope SPT-SZ survey. Of the 1005 redMaPPer selected clusters with measured richness $\hat{\lambda }\gt 40$ in the joint footprint, 207 are confirmed by SPT-SZ. Using the mass information from the SZE signal, we calibrate the richness–mass relation using a Bayesian cluster population model. We find a mass trend λ ∝ MB consistent with a linear relation (B ∼ 1),more »no significant redshift evolution and an intrinsic scatter in richness of σλ = 0.22 ± 0.06. By considering two error models, we explore the impact of projection effects on the richness–mass modelling, confirming that such effects are not detectable at the current level of systematic uncertainties. At low richness SPT-SZ confirms fewer redMaPPer clusters than expected. We interpret this richness dependent deficit in confirmed systems as due to the increased presence at low richness of low-mass objects not correctly accounted for by our richness-mass scatter model, which we call contaminants. At a richness $\hat{\lambda }=40$, this population makes up ${\gt}12{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ (97.5 percentile) of the total population. Extrapolating this to a measured richness $\hat{\lambda }=20$ yields ${\gt}22{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ (97.5 percentile). With these contamination fractions, the predicted redMaPPer number counts in different plausible cosmologies are compatible with the measured abundance. The presence of such a population is also a plausible explanation for the different mass trends (B ∼ 0.75) obtained from mass calibration using purely optically selected clusters. The mean mass from stacked weak lensing (WL) measurements suggests that these low-mass contaminants are galaxy groups with masses ∼3–5 × 1013 M⊙ which are beyond the sensitivity of current SZE and X-ray surveys but a natural target for SPT-3G and eROSITA.« less
  5. ABSTRACT Quantifying tensions – inconsistencies amongst measurements of cosmological parameters by different experiments – has emerged as a crucial part of modern cosmological data analysis. Statistically significant tensions between two experiments or cosmological probes may indicate new physics extending beyond the standard cosmological model and need to be promptly identified. We apply several tension estimators proposed in the literature to the dark energy survey (DES) large-scale structure measurement and Planck cosmic microwave background data. We first evaluate the responsiveness of these metrics to an input tension artificially introduced between the two, using synthetic DES data. We then apply the metricsmore »to the comparison of Planck and actual DES Year 1 data. We find that the parameter differences, Eigentension, and Suspiciousness metrics all yield similar results on both simulated and real data, while the Bayes ratio is inconsistent with the rest due to its dependence on the prior volume. Using these metrics, we calculate the tension between DES Year 1 3 × 2pt and Planck, finding the surveys to be in ∼2.3σ tension under the ΛCDM paradigm. This suite of metrics provides a toolset for robustly testing tensions in the DES Year 3 data and beyond.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 6, 2022
  6. ABSTRACT Determining the distribution of redshifts of galaxies observed by wide-field photometric experiments like the Dark Energy Survey (DES) is an essential component to mapping the matter density field with gravitational lensing. In this work we describe the methods used to assign individual weak lensing source galaxies from the DES Year 3 Weak Lensing Source Catalogue to four tomographic bins and to estimate the redshift distributions in these bins. As the first application of these methods to data, we validate that the assumptions made apply to the DES Y3 weak lensing source galaxies and develop a full treatment of systematicmore »uncertainties. Our method consists of combining information from three independent likelihood functions: self-organizing map p(z) (sompz), a method for constraining redshifts from galaxy photometry; clustering redshifts (WZ), constraints on redshifts from cross-correlations of galaxy density functions; and shear ratios (SRs), which provide constraints on redshifts from the ratios of the galaxy-shear correlation functions at small scales. Finally, we describe how these independent probes are combined to yield an ensemble of redshift distributions encapsulating our full uncertainty. We calibrate redshifts with combined effective uncertainties of σ〈z〉 ∼ 0.01 on the mean redshift in each tomographic bin.« less
  7. 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