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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 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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