skip to main content

Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Drlica-Wagner, Alex"

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. Measuring the structural parameters (size, total brightness, light concentration, etc.) of galaxies is a significant first step towards a quantitative description of different galaxy populations. In this work, we demonstrate that a Bayesian Neural Network (BNN) can be used for the inference, with uncertainty quantification, of such morphological parameters from simulated low-surface brightness galaxy images. Compared to traditional profile-fitting methods, we show that the uncertainties obtained using BNNs are comparable in magnitude, well-calibrated, and the point estimates of the parameters are closer to the true values. Our method is also significantly faster, which is very important with the advent of the era of large galaxy surveys and big data in astrophysics.
  2. Abstract Modern surveys of gravitational microlensing events have progressed to detecting thousands per year, and surveys are capable of probing Galactic structure, stellar evolution, lens populations, black hole physics, and the nature of dark matter. One of the key avenues for doing this is the microlensing Einstein radius crossing time ( t E ) distribution. However, systematics in individual light curves as well as oversimplistic modeling can lead to biased results. To address this, we developed a model to simultaneously handle the microlensing parallax due to Earth's motion, systematic instrumental effects, and unlensed stellar variability with a Gaussian process model. We used light curves for nearly 10,000 OGLE-III and -IV Milky Way bulge microlensing events and fit each with our model. We also developed a forward model approach to infer the t E distribution by forward modeling from the data rather than using point estimates from individual events. We find that modeling the variability in the baseline removes a source of significant bias in individual events, and the previous analyses overestimated the number of t E > 100 day events due to their oversimplistic model ignoring parallax effects. We use our fits to identify the hundreds filling a regime inmore »the microlensing parameter space that are 50% pure of black holes. Finally, we have released the largest-ever catalog of Markov Chain Monte Carlo parameter estimates for microlensing events.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 21, 2023
  3. null (Ed.)
  4. Abstract We report the kinematic, orbital, and chemical properties of 12 stellar streams with no evident progenitors using line-of-sight velocities and metallicities from the Southern Stellar Stream Spectroscopic Survey ( S 5 ), proper motions from Gaia EDR3, and distances derived from distance tracers or the literature. This data set provides the largest homogeneously analyzed set of streams with full 6D kinematics and metallicities. All streams have heliocentric distances between ∼10 and 50 kpc. The velocity and metallicity dispersions show that half of the stream progenitors were disrupted dwarf galaxies (DGs), while the other half originated from disrupted globular clusters (GCs), hereafter referred to as DG and GC streams. Based on the mean metallicities of the streams and the mass–metallicity relation, the luminosities of the progenitors of the DG streams range between those of Carina and Ursa Major I (−9.5 ≲ M V ≲ −5.5). Four of the six GC streams have mean metallicities of [Fe/H] < −2, more metal poor than typical Milky Way (MW) GCs at similar distances. Interestingly, the 300S and Jet GC streams are the only streams on retrograde orbits in our dozen-stream sample. Finally, we compare the orbital properties of the streams with known DGsmore »and GCs in the MW, finding several possible associations. Some streams appear to have been accreted with the recently discovered Gaia–Enceladus–Sausage system, and others suggest that GCs were formed in and accreted together with the progenitors of DG streams whose stellar masses are similar to those of Draco to Carina (∼10 5 –10 6 M ⊙ ).« less
  5. Abstract Stellar streams are excellent probes of the underlying gravitational potential in which they evolve. In this work, we fit dynamical models to five streams in the Southern Galactic hemisphere, combining observations from the Southern Stellar Stream Spectroscopic Survey ( S 5 ), Gaia EDR3, and the Dark Energy Survey, to measure the mass of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). With an ensemble of streams, we find a mass of the LMC ranging from ∼14–19 × 10 10 M ⊙ , probed over a range of closest approach times and distances. With the most constraining stream (Orphan–Chenab), we measure an LMC mass of 18.8 − 4.0 + 3.5 × 10 10 M ⊙ , probed at a closest approach time of 310 Myr and a closest approach distance of 25.4 kpc. This mass is compatible with previous measurements, showing that a consistent picture is emerging of the LMC’s influence on structures in the Milky Way. Using this sample of streams, we find that the LMC’s effect depends on the relative orientation of the stream and LMC at their point of closest approach. To better understand this, we present a simple model based on the impulse approximation and we show thatmore »the LMC’s effect depends both on the magnitude of the velocity kick imparted to the stream and the direction of this kick.« less
  6. Low surface brightness galaxies (LSBGs), galaxies that are fainter than the dark night sky, are famously difficult to detect. Nonetheless, studies of these galaxies are essential to improve our understanding of the formation and evolution of low-mass galaxies. In this work, we train a deep learning model using the Mask R-CNN framework on a set of simulated LSBGs inserted into images from the Dark Energy Survey (DES) Data Release 2 (DR2). This deep learning model is combined with several conventional image pre-processing steps to develop a pipeline for the detection of LSBGs. We apply this pipeline to the full DES DR2 coadd image dataset, and preliminary results show the detection of 22 large, high-quality LSBG candidates that went undetected by conventional algorithms. Furthermore, we find that the performance of our algorithm is greatly improved by including examples of false positives as an additional class during training.
  7. Wide-field astronomical surveys are often affected by the presence of undesirable reflections (often known as “ghosting artifacts” or “ghosts”) and scattered-light artifacts. The identification and mitigation of these artifacts is important for rigorous astronomical analyses of faint and low-surface-brightness systems. In this work, we use images from the Dark Energy Survey (DES) to train, validate, and test a deep neural network (Mask R-CNN) to detect and localize ghosts and scatteredlight artifacts. We find that the ability of the Mask R-CNN model to identify affected regions is superior to that of conventional algorithms that model the physical processes that lead to such artifacts, thus providing a powerful technique for the automated detection of ghosting and scattered-light artifacts in current and near-future surveys.
  8. Abstract

    The ultra-faint dwarf galaxy Reticulum II (Ret II) exhibits a unique chemical evolution history, with7212+10% of its stars strongly enhanced inr-process elements. We present deep Hubble Space Telescope photometry of Ret II and analyze its star formation history. As in other ultra-faint dwarfs, the color–magnitude diagram is best fit by a model consisting of two bursts of star formation. If we assume that the bursts were instantaneous, then the older burst occurred around the epoch of reionization, forming ∼80% of the stars in the galaxy, while the remainder of the stars formed ∼3 Gyr later. When the bursts are allowed to have nonzero durations, we obtain slightly better fits. The best-fitting model in this case consists of two bursts beginning before reionization, with approximately half the stars formed in a short (100 Myr) burst and the other half in a more extended period lasting 2.6 Gyr. Considering the full set of viable star formation history models, we find that 28% of the stars formed within 500 ± 200 Myr of the onset of star formation. The combination of the star formation history and the prevalence ofr-process-enhanced stars demonstrates that ther-process elements in Ret II must havemore »been synthesized early in its initial star-forming phase. We therefore constrain the delay time between the formation of the first stars in Ret II and ther-process nucleosynthesis to be less than 500 Myr. This measurement rules out anr-process source with a delay time of several Gyr or more, such as GW170817.

    « less