Journal Article

Shape measurement biases from underfitting and ellipticity gradients

Gary M. Bernstein

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 406, issue 4, pages 2793-2804
Published in print August 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online August 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Shape measurement biases from underfitting and ellipticity gradients

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Precision weak gravitational lensing experiments require measurements of galaxy shapes accurate to <1 part in 1000. We investigate measurement biases, noted by Voigt & Bridle and Melchior et al., that are common to shape measurement methodologies that rely upon fitting elliptical-isophote galaxy models to observed data. The first bias arises when the true galaxy shapes do not match the models being fit. We show that this ‘underfitting bias’ is due, at root, to these methods' attempts to use information at high spatial frequencies that have been destroyed by the convolution with the point spread function (PSF) and/or by sampling. We propose a new shape-measurement technique that is explicitly confined to observable regions of k-space. A second bias arises for galaxies whose ellipticity varies with radius. For most shape-measurement methods, such galaxies are subject to ‘ellipticity gradient bias’. We show how to reduce such biases by factors of 20–100 within the new shape-measurement method. The resulting shear estimator has multiplicative errors <1 part in 103 for high signal-to-noise ratio images, even for highly asymmetric galaxies. Without any training or recalibration, the new method obtains Q= 3000 in the GREAT08 Challenge of blind shear reconstruction on low-noise galaxies, several times better than any previous method.

Keywords: gravitational lensing: weak; techniques: image processing; methods: data analysis

Journal Article.  10636 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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