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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 The CMB lensing signal from cosmic voids and superclusters probes the growth of structure in the low-redshift cosmic web. In this analysis, we cross-correlated the Planck CMB lensing map with voids detected in the Dark Energy Survey Year 3 (Y3) data set (∼5000 deg2), expanding on previous measurements that used Y1 catalogues (∼1300 deg2). Given the increased statistical power compared to Y1 data, we report a 6.6σ detection of negative CMB convergence (κ) imprints using approximately 3600 voids detected from a redMaGiC luminous red galaxy sample. However, the measured signal is lower than expected from the MICE N-body simulation that ismore »based on the ΛCDM model (parameters Ωm = 0.25, σ8 = 0.8), and the discrepancy is associated mostly with the void centre region. Considering the full void lensing profile, we fit an amplitude $A_{\kappa }=\kappa _{{\rm DES}}/\kappa _{{\rm MICE}}$ to a simulation-based template with fixed shape and found a moderate 2σ deviation in the signal with Aκ ≈ 0.79 ± 0.12. We also examined the WebSky simulation that is based on a Planck 2018 ΛCDM cosmology, but the results were even less consistent given the slightly higher matter density fluctuations than in MICE. We then identified superclusters in the DES and the MICE catalogues, and detected their imprints at the 8.4σ level; again with a lower-than-expected Aκ = 0.84 ± 0.10 amplitude. The combination of voids and superclusters yields a 10.3σ detection with an Aκ = 0.82 ± 0.08 constraint on the CMB lensing amplitude, thus the overall signal is 2.3σ weaker than expected from MICE.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 10, 2023
  3. Abstract We use a recent census of the Milky Way (MW) satellite galaxy population to constrain the lifetime of particle dark matter (DM). We consider two-body decaying dark matter (DDM) in which a heavy DM particle decays with lifetime τ comparable to the age of the universe to a lighter DM particle (with mass splitting ϵ ) and to a dark radiation species. These decays impart a characteristic “kick velocity,” V kick = ϵ c , on the DM daughter particles, significantly depleting the DM content of low-mass subhalos and making them more susceptible to tidal disruption. We fit themore »suppression of the present-day DDM subhalo mass function (SHMF) as a function of τ and V kick using a suite of high-resolution zoom-in simulations of MW-mass halos, and we validate this model on new DDM simulations of systems specifically chosen to resemble the MW. We implement our DDM SHMF predictions in a forward model that incorporates inhomogeneities in the spatial distribution and detectability of MW satellites and uncertainties in the mapping between galaxies and DM halos, the properties of the MW system, and the disruption of subhalos by the MW disk using an empirical model for the galaxy–halo connection. By comparing to the observed MW satellite population, we conservatively exclude DDM models with τ < 18 Gyr (29 Gyr) for V kick = 20 kms −1 (40 kms −1 ) at 95% confidence. These constraints are among the most stringent and robust small-scale structure limits on the DM particle lifetime and strongly disfavor DDM models that have been proposed to alleviate the Hubble and S 8 tensions.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  4. ABSTRACT Strongly lensed quadruply imaged quasars (quads) are extraordinary objects. They are very rare in the sky and yet they provide unique information about a wide range of topics, including the expansion history and the composition of the Universe, the distribution of stars and dark matter in galaxies, the host galaxies of quasars, and the stellar initial mass function. Finding them in astronomical images is a classic ‘needle in a haystack’ problem, as they are outnumbered by other (contaminant) sources by many orders of magnitude. To solve this problem, we develop state-of-the-art deep learning methods and train them on realisticmore »simulated quads based on real images of galaxies taken from the Dark Energy Survey, with realistic source and deflector models, including the chromatic effects of microlensing. The performance of the best methods on a mixture of simulated and real objects is excellent, yielding area under the receiver operating curve in the range of 0.86–0.89. Recall is close to 100 per cent down to total magnitude i ∼ 21 indicating high completeness, while precision declines from 85 per cent to 70 per cent in the range i ∼ 17–21. The methods are extremely fast: training on 2 million samples takes 20 h on a GPU machine, and 108 multiband cut-outs can be evaluated per GPU-hour. The speed and performance of the method pave the way to apply it to large samples of astronomical sources, bypassing the need for photometric pre-selection that is likely to be a major cause of incompleteness in current samples of known quads.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 5, 2023
  5. Abstract The cosmic web contains filamentary structure on a wide range of scales. On the largest scales, superclustering aligns multiple galaxy clusters along intercluster bridges, visible through their thermal Sunyaev–Zel’dovich signal in the cosmic microwave background. We demonstrate a new, flexible method to analyze the hot gas signal from multiscale extended structures. We use a Compton y -map from the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) stacked on redMaPPer cluster positions from the optical Dark Energy Survey (DES). Cutout images from the y -map are oriented with large-scale structure information from DES galaxy data such that the superclustering signal is aligned beforemore »being overlaid. We find evidence of an extended quadrupole moment of the stacked y signal at the 3.5 σ level, demonstrating that the large-scale thermal energy surrounding galaxy clusters is anisotropically distributed. We compare our ACT × DES results with the Buzzard simulations, finding broad agreement. Using simulations, we highlight the promise of this novel technique for constraining the evolution of anisotropic, non-Gaussian structure using future combinations of microwave and optical surveys.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  6. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
  7. Abstract We present a search for outer solar system objects in the 6 yr of data from the Dark Energy Survey (DES). The DES covered a contiguous 5000 deg 2 of the southern sky with ≈80,000 3 deg 2 exposures in the grizY filters between 2013 and 2019. This search yielded 812 trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs), one Centaur and one Oort cloud comet, 458 reported here for the first time. We present methodology that builds upon our previous search on the first 4 yr of data. All images were reprocessed with an optimized detection pipeline that leads to an average completenessmore »gain of 0.47 mag per exposure, as well as improved transient catalog production and algorithms for linkage of detections into orbits. All objects were verified by visual inspection and by the “sub-threshold significance,” the signal-to-noise ratio in the stack of images in which its presence is indicated by the orbit, but no detection was reported. This yields a pure catalog complete to r ≈ 23.8 mag and distances 29 < d < 2500 au. The TNOs have minimum (median) of 7 (12) nights’ detections and arcs of 1.1 (4.2) yr, and will have grizY magnitudes available in a further publication. We present software for simulating our observational biases for comparisons of models to our detections. Initial inferences demonstrating the catalog’s statistical power are: the data are inconsistent with the CFEPS-L7 model for the classical Kuiper Belt; the 16 “extreme” TNOs ( a > 150 au, q > 30 au) are consistent with the null hypothesis of azimuthal isotropy; and nonresonant TNOs with q > 38 au, a > 50 au show a significant tendency to be sunward of major mean-motion resonances.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2023
  8. Abstract We present the second public data release (DR2) from the DECam Local Volume Exploration survey (DELVE). DELVE DR2 combines new DECam observations with archival DECam data from the Dark Energy Survey, the DECam Legacy Survey, and other DECam community programs. DELVE DR2 consists of ∼160,000 exposures that cover >21,000 deg 2 of the high-Galactic-latitude (∣ b ∣ > 10°) sky in four broadband optical/near-infrared filters ( g , r , i , z ). DELVE DR2 provides point-source and automatic aperture photometry for ∼2.5 billion astronomical sources with a median 5 σ point-source depth of g = 24.3, rmore »= 23.9, i = 23.5, and z = 22.8 mag. A region of ∼17,000 deg 2 has been imaged in all four filters, providing four-band photometric measurements for ∼618 million astronomical sources. DELVE DR2 covers more than 4 times the area of the previous DELVE data release and contains roughly 5 times as many astronomical objects. DELVE DR2 is publicly available via the NOIRLab Astro Data Lab science platform.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
  9. ABSTRACT We present cosmological constraints from the analysis of angular power spectra of cosmic shear maps based on data from the first three years of observations by the Dark Energy Survey (DES Y3). Our measurements are based on the pseudo-Cℓ method and complement the analysis of the two-point correlation functions in real space, as the two estimators are known to compress and select Gaussian information in different ways, due to scale cuts. They may also be differently affected by systematic effects and theoretical uncertainties, making this analysis an important cross-check. Using the same fiducial Lambda cold dark matter model as inmore »the DES Y3 real-space analysis, we find ${S_8 \equiv \sigma _8 \sqrt{\Omega _{\rm m}/0.3} = 0.793^{+0.038}_{-0.025}}$, which further improves to S8 = 0.784 ± 0.026 when including shear ratios. This result is within expected statistical fluctuations from the real-space constraint, and in agreement with DES Y3 analyses of non-Gaussian statistics, but favours a slightly higher value of S8, which reduces the tension with the Planck 2018 constraints from 2.3σ in the real space analysis to 1.5σ here. We explore less conservative intrinsic alignments models than the one adopted in our fiducial analysis, finding no clear preference for a more complex model. We also include small scales, using an increased Fourier mode cut-off up to $k_{\rm max}={5}\, {h}\, {\rm Mpc}^{-1}$, which allows to constrain baryonic feedback while leaving cosmological constraints essentially unchanged. Finally, we present an approximate reconstruction of the linear matter power spectrum at present time, found to be about 20 per cent lower than predicted by Planck 2018, as reflected by the lower S8 value.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 27, 2023
  10. 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