Lensing in the Blue. II. Estimating the Sensitivity of Stratospheric Balloons to Weak Gravitational Lensing

Jacqueline E. McCleary, Spencer W. Everett, Mohamed M. Shaaban, Ajay S. Gill, Georgios N. Vassilakis, Eric M. Huff, Richard J. Massey, Steven J. Benton, Anthony M. Brown, Paul Clark, Bradley Holder, Aurelien A. Fraisse, Mathilde Jauzac, William C. Jones, David Lagattuta, Jason S.Y. Leung, Lun Li, Thuy Vy Thuy, Johanna M. Nagy, C. Barth NetterfieldEmaad Paracha, Susan F. Redmond, Jason D. Rhodes, Jürgen Schmoll, Ellen Sirks, Sut Ieng Tam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The Superpressure Balloon-borne Imaging Telescope (SuperBIT) is a diffraction-limited, wide-field, 0.5 m, near-infrared to near-ultraviolet observatory designed to exploit the stratosphere’s space-like conditions. SuperBIT’s 2023 science flight will deliver deep, blue imaging of galaxy clusters for gravitational lensing analysis. In preparation, we have developed a weak-lensing measurement pipeline with modern algorithms for PSF characterization, shape measurement, and shear calibration. We validate our pipeline and forecast SuperBIT survey properties with simulated galaxy cluster observations in SuperBIT’s near-UV and blue bandpasses. We predict imaging depth, galaxy number (source) density, and redshift distribution for observations in SuperBIT’s three bluest filters; the effect of lensing sample selections is also considered. We find that, in three hours of on-sky integration, SuperBIT can attain a depth of b = 26 mag and a total source density exceeding 40 galaxies per square arcminute. Even with the application of lensing-analysis catalog selections, we find b-band source densities between 25 and 30 galaxies per square arcminute with a median redshift of z = 1.1. Our analysis confirms SuperBIT’s capability for weak gravitational lensing measurements in the blue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number134
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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