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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2025
  2. ABSTRACT

    Examining the properties of subhaloes with strong gravitational lensing images can shed light on the nature of dark matter. From upcoming large-scale surveys, we expect to discover orders of magnitude more strong lens systems that can be used for subhalo studies. To optimally extract information from a large number of strong lensing images, machine learning provides promising avenues for efficient analysis that is unachievable with traditional analysis methods, but application of machine learning techniques to real observations is still limited. We build upon previous work, which uses a neural likelihood-ratio estimator, to constrain the effective density slopes of subhaloes and demonstrate the feasibility of this method on real strong lensing observations. To do this, we implement significant improvements to the forward simulation pipeline and undertake careful model evaluation using simulated images. Ultimately, we use our trained model to predict the effective subhalo density slope from combining a set of strong lensing images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. We found the subhalo slope measurement of this set of observations to be steeper than the slope predictions of cold dark matter subhaloes. Our result adds to several previous works that also measured high subhalo slopes in observations. Although a possible explanation for this is that subhaloes with steeper slopes are easier to detect due to selection effects and thus contribute to statistical bias, our result nevertheless points to the need for careful analysis of more strong lensing observations from future surveys.

     
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  3. ABSTRACT

    Strong gravitational lensing has emerged as a promising approach for probing dark matter (DM) models on sub-galactic scales. Recent work has proposed the subhalo effective density slope as a more reliable observable than the commonly used subhalo mass function. The subhalo effective density slope is a measurement independent of assumptions about the underlying density profile and can be inferred for individual subhaloes through traditional sampling methods. To go beyond individual subhalo measurements, we leverage recent advances in machine learning and introduce a neural likelihood-ratio estimator to infer an effective density slope for populations of subhaloes. We demonstrate that our method is capable of harnessing the statistical power of multiple subhaloes (within and across multiple images) to distinguish between characteristics of different subhalo populations. The computational efficiency warranted by the neural likelihood-ratio estimator over traditional sampling enables statistical studies of DM perturbers and is particularly useful as we expect an influx of strong lensing systems from upcoming surveys.

     
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  4. ABSTRACT

    Observations of structure at subgalactic scales are crucial for probing the properties of dark matter, which is the dominant source of gravity in the universe. It will become increasingly important for future surveys to distinguish between line-of-sight haloes and subhalos to avoid wrong inferences on the nature of dark matter. We reanalyse a subgalactic structure (in lens JVAS B1938 + 666) that has been previously found using the gravitational imaging technique in galaxy-galaxy lensing systems. This structure has been assumed to be a satellite in the halo of the main lens galaxy. We fit the redshift of the perturber of the system as a free parameter, using the multiplane thin-lens approximation, and find that the redshift of the perturber is $z_\mathrm{int} = 1.42^{+0.10}_{-0.15}$ (with a main lens redshift of z = 0.881). Our analysis indicates that this structure is more massive than the previous result by an order of magnitude. This constitutes the first dark perturber shown to be a line-of-sight halo with a gravitational lensing method.

     
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  5. A promising avenue to measure the total, and potentially individual, mass of neutrinos consists of leveraging cosmological datasets, such as the cosmic microwave background and surveys of the large-scale structure of the universe. In order to obtain unbiased estimates of the neutrino mass, however, many effects ought to be included. Here we forecast, via a Markov Chain Monte Carlo likelihood analysis, whether measurements by two galaxy surveys: DESI and {\it Euclid}, when added to the CMB-S4 experiment, are sensitive to two effects that can alter neutrino-mass measurements. The first is the slight difference in the suppression of matter fluctuations that each neutrino-mass hierarchy generates, at fixed total mass. The second is the growth-induced scale-dependent bias (GISDB) of haloes produced by massive neutrinos. We find that near-future surveys can distinguish hierarchies with the same total mass only at the 1𝜎 level; thus, while these are poised to deliver a measurement of the sum of neutrino masses, they cannot significantly discern the mass of each individual neutrino in the foreseeable future. We further find that neglecting the GISDB induces up to a 1𝜎 overestimation of the total neutrino mass, and we show how to absorb this effect via a redshift-dependent parametrization of the scale-independent bias. 
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  6. Cosmological data provide a powerful tool in the search for physics beyond the Standard Model (SM). An interesting target are light relics, new degrees of freedom which decoupled from the SM while relativistic. Nearly massless relics contribute to the radiation energy budget, and are commonly searched through variations in the effective number 𝑁eff of neutrino species. Additionally, relics with masses on the eV scale (meV-10 eV) become non-relativistic before today, and thus behave as matter instead of radiation. This leaves an imprint in the clustering of the large-scale structure of the universe, as light relics have important streaming motions, mirroring the case of massive neutrinos. Here we forecast how well current and upcoming cosmological surveys can probe light massive relics (LiMRs). We consider minimal extensions to the SM by both fermionic and bosonic relic degrees of freedom. By combining current and upcoming cosmic-microwave-background and large-scale-structure surveys, we forecast the significance at which each LiMR, with different masses and temperatures, can be detected. We find that a very large coverage of parameter space will be attainable by upcoming experiments, opening the possibility of exploring uncharted territory for new physics beyond the SM. 
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  7. ABSTRACT We present a novel technique for cosmic microwave background (CMB) foreground subtraction based on the framework of blind source separation. Inspired by previous work incorporating local variation to generalized morphological component analysis (GMCA), we introduce hierarchical GMCA (HGMCA), a Bayesian hierarchical graphical model for source separation. We test our method on Nside = 256 simulated sky maps that include dust, synchrotron, free–free, and anomalous microwave emission, and show that HGMCA reduces foreground contamination by $25{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ over GMCA in both the regions included and excluded by the Planck UT78 mask, decreases the error in the measurement of the CMB temperature power spectrum to the 0.02–0.03 per cent level at ℓ > 200 (and $\lt 0.26{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ for all ℓ), and reduces correlation to all the foregrounds. We find equivalent or improved performance when compared to state-of-the-art internal linear combination type algorithms on these simulations, suggesting that HGMCA may be a competitive alternative to foreground separation techniques previously applied to observed CMB data. Additionally, we show that our performance does not suffer when we perturb model parameters or alter the CMB realization, which suggests that our algorithm generalizes well beyond our simplified simulations. Our results open a new avenue for constructing CMB maps through Bayesian hierarchical analysis. 
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