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  1. Abstract We investigate the environment and line of sight of the H0LiCOW lens B1608+656 using Subaru Suprime-Cam and the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) to perform a weak lensing analysis. We compare three different methods to reconstruct the mass map of the field, i.e. the standard Kaiser-Squires inversion coupled with inpainting and Gaussian or wavelet filtering, and ${\tt Glimpse}$ a method based on sparse regularization of the shear field. We find no substantial difference between the 2D mass reconstructions, but we find that the ground-based data is less sensitive to small-scale structures than the space-based observations. Marginalising over the results obtainedmore »with all the reconstruction techniques applied to the two available HST filters F606W and F814W, we estimate the external convergence, κext at the position of B1608+656 is $\kappa _{\mathrm{ext}}= 0.11^{+0.06}_{-0.04}$, where the error bars corresponds respectively to the 16th and 84th quartiles. This result is compatible with previous estimates using the number-counts technique, suggesting that B1608+656 resides in an over-dense line of sight, but with a completely different technique. Using our mass reconstructions, we also compare the convergence at the position of several groups of galaxies in the field of B1608+656 with the mass measurements using various analytical mass profiles, and find that the weak lensing results favor truncated halo models.« less
  2. ABSTRACT In recent years, breakthroughs in methods and data have enabled gravitational time delays to emerge as a very powerful tool to measure the Hubble constant H0. However, published state-of-the-art analyses require of order 1 yr of expert investigator time and up to a million hours of computing time per system. Furthermore, as precision improves, it is crucial to identify and mitigate systematic uncertainties. With this time delay lens modelling challenge, we aim to assess the level of precision and accuracy of the modelling techniques that are currently fast enough to handle of order 50 lenses, via the blind analysismore »of simulated data sets. The results in Rungs 1 and 2 show that methods that use only the point source positions tend to have lower precision ($10\!-\!20{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$) while remaining accurate. In Rung 2, the methods that exploit the full information of the imaging and kinematic data sets can recover H0 within the target accuracy (|A| < 2 per cent) and precision (<6 per cent per system), even in the presence of a poorly known point spread function and complex source morphology. A post-unblinding analysis of Rung 3 showed the numerical precision of the ray-traced cosmological simulations to be insufficient to test lens modelling methodology at the percent level, making the results difficult to interpret. A new challenge with improved simulations is needed to make further progress in the investigation of systematic uncertainties. For completeness, we present the Rung 3 results in an appendix and use them to discuss various approaches to mitigating against similar subtle data generation effects in future blind challenges.« 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. We present new measurements of the time delays of WFI2033−4723. The data sets used in this work include 14 years of data taken at the 1.2 m Leonhard Euler Swiss telescope, 13 years of data from the SMARTS 1.3 m telescope at Las Campanas Observatory and a single year of high-cadence and high-precision monitoring at the MPIA 2.2 m telescope. The time delays measured from these different data sets, all taken in the R -band, are in good agreement with each other and with previous measurements from the literature. Combining all the time-delay estimates from our data sets results inmore »Δ t AB = 36.2 +0.7 −0.8 days (2.1% precision), Δ t AC = −23.3 +1.2 −1.4 days (5.6%) and Δ t BC = −59.4 +1.3 −1.3 days (2.2%). In addition, the close image pair A1-A2 of the lensed quasars can be resolved in the MPIA 2.2 m data. We measure a time delay consistent with zero in this pair of images. We also explore the prior distributions of microlensing time-delay potentially affecting the cosmological time-delay measurements of WFI2033−4723. Our time-delay measurements are not precise enough to conclude that microlensing time delay is present or absent from the data. This work is part of a H0LiCOW series focusing on measuring the Hubble constant from WFI2033−4723.« 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
  8. ABSTRACT Galaxies and galaxy groups located along the line of sight towards gravitationally lensed quasars produce high-order perturbations of the gravitational potential at the lens position. When these perturbation are too large, they can induce a systematic error on H0 of a few per cent if the lens system is used for cosmological inference and the perturbers are not explicitly accounted for in the lens model. In this work, we present a detailed characterization of the environment of the lens system WFI 2033−4723 ($z_{\rm src} =\,$1.662, $z_{\rm lens}=\,$0.6575), one of the core targets of the H0LiCOW project for which we present cosmological inferences inmore »a companion paper. We use the Gemini and ESO-Very Large telescopes to measure the spectroscopic redshifts of the brightest galaxies towards the lens, and use the ESO-MUSE integral field spectrograph to measure the velocity-dispersion of the lens ($\sigma _{\rm {los}}= 250^{+15}_{-21}$  km s−1) and of several nearby galaxies. In addition, we measure photometric redshifts and stellar masses of all galaxies down to i < 23 mag, mainly based on Dark Energy Survey imaging (DR1). Our new catalogue, complemented with literature data, more than doubles the number of known galaxy spectroscopic redshifts in the direct vicinity of the lens, expanding to 116 (64) the number of spectroscopic redshifts for galaxies separated by less than 3 arcmin (2 arcmin ) from the lens. Using the flexion-shift as a measure of the amplitude of the gravitational perturbation, we identify two galaxy groups and three galaxies that require specific attention in the lens models. The ESO MUSE data enable us to measure the velocity-dispersions of three of these galaxies. These results are essential for the cosmological inference analysis presented in Rusu et al.« less
  9. ABSTRACT We present a blind time-delay cosmographic analysis for the lens system DES J0408−5354. This system is extraordinary for the presence of two sets of multiple images at different redshifts, which provide the opportunity to obtain more information at the cost of increased modelling complexity with respect to previously analysed systems. We perform detailed modelling of the mass distribution for this lens system using three band Hubble Space Telescope imaging. We combine the measured time delays, line-of-sight central velocity dispersion of the deflector, and statistically constrained external convergence with our lens models to estimate two cosmological distances. We measure themore »‘effective’ time-delay distance corresponding to the redshifts of the deflector and the lensed quasar $D_{\Delta t}^{\rm eff}=$$3382_{-115}^{+146}$ Mpc and the angular diameter distance to the deflector Dd = $1711_{-280}^{+376}$ Mpc, with covariance between the two distances. From these constraints on the cosmological distances, we infer the Hubble constant H0= $74.2_{-3.0}^{+2.7}$ km s−1 Mpc−1 assuming a flat ΛCDM cosmology and a uniform prior for Ωm as $\Omega _{\rm m} \sim \mathcal {U}(0.05, 0.5)$. This measurement gives the most precise constraint on H0 to date from a single lens. Our measurement is consistent with that obtained from the previous sample of six lenses analysed by the H0 Lenses in COSMOGRAIL’s Wellspring (H0LiCOW) collaboration. It is also consistent with measurements of H0 based on the local distance ladder, reinforcing the tension with the inference from early Universe probes, for example, with 2.2σ discrepancy from the cosmic microwave background measurement.« less