Seeing in the dark-I. multi-epoch alchemy

Eric M. Huff, Christopher M. Hirata, Rachel Mandelbaum, David Schlegel, Uroš Seljak, Robert H. Lupton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Weak lensing by large-scale structure is an invaluable cosmological tool given that most of the energy density of the concordance cosmology is invisible. Several large ground-based imaging surveys will attempt to measure this effect over the coming decade, but reliable control of the spurious lensing signal introduced by atmospheric turbulence and telescope optics remains a challenging problem. We address this challenge with a demonstration that point spread function (PSF) effects on measured galaxy shapes in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) can be corrected with existing analysis techniques. In this work, we co-add existing SDSS imaging on the equatorial stripe in order to build a data set with the statistical power to measure cosmic shear, while using a rounding kernel method to null out the effects of the anisotropic PSF. We build a galaxy catalogue from the combined imaging, characterize its photometric properties and show that the spurious shear remaining in this catalogue after the PSF correction is negligible compared to the expected cosmic shear signal.We identify a new source of systematic error in the shear-shear autocorrelations arising from selection biases related to masking. Finally, we discuss the circumstances in which this method is expected to be useful for upcoming ground-based surveys that have lensing as one of the science goals, and identify the systematic errors that can reduce its efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1296-1321
Number of pages26
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Gravitational lensing
  • Image processing-surveys-cosmology
  • Observations
  • Weak-techniques


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