Systematic effects on dark energy from 3D weak shear

Thomas Kitching, Andy Taylor, A. F. Heavens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

We present an investigation into the potential effect of systematics inherent in multiband wide-field surveys on the dark energy equation-of-state determination for two 3D weak lensing methods. The weak lensing methods are a geometric shear-ratio method and 3D cosmic shear. The analysis here uses an extension of the Fisher matrix framework to include jointly photometric redshift systematics, shear distortion systematics and intrinsic alignments. Using analytic parametrizations of these three primary systematic effects allows all isolation of systematic parameters of particular importance.

We show that assuming systematic parameters are fixed, but possibly biased, results in potentially large biases in dark energy parameters. We quantify any potential bias by defining a Bias Figure of Merit. By marginalizing over extra systematic parameters, such biases are negated at the expense of an increase in the cosmological parameter errors. We show the effect on the dark energy Figure of Merit of marginalizing over each systematic parameter individually. We also show the overall reduction in the Figure of Merit due to all three types of systematic effects.

Based on some assumption of the likely level of systematic errors, we find that the largest effect on the Figure of Merit comes from uncertainty in the photometric redshift systematic parameters. These can reduce the Figure of Merit by up to a factor of 2 to 4 in both 3D weak lensing methods, if no informative prior on the systematic parameters is applied. Shear distortion systematics have a smaller overall effect. Intrinsic alignment effects call reduce the Figure of Merit by up to a further factor of 2. This, however, is a worst-case scenario, within the assumptions of the parametrizations used. By including prior information on systematic parameters, the Figure of Merit can be recovered to a large extent, and combined constraints from 3D cosmic shear and shear ratio are robust to systematics. We conclude that, as a rule of thumb, given a realistic current understanding of intrinsic alignments and photometric redshifts, then including all three primary systematic effects reduces the Figure of Merit by at most a factor of 2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-190
Number of pages18
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2008

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • gravitational lensing
  • cosmology: observations


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