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Weak-lensing ellipticities in a strong-lensing regime

Massey, Richard and Goldberg, David M. (2008) Weak-lensing ellipticities in a strong-lensing regime. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 673 (2). L111-L114. ISSN 2041-8205.

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It is now routine to measure the weak gravitational lensing shear signal from the mean ellipticity of distant galaxies. However, conversion between ellipticity and shear assumes local linearity of the lensing potential (i.e., that the spatial derivatives of the shear are small), and this condition is not satisfied in some of the most interesting regions of the sky. We extend a derivation of lensing equations to include higher order terms, and assess the level of biases introduced by assuming that first-order weak-lensing theory holds in a relatively strong shear regime. We find that even in a worst-case scenario, a fully linear analysis is accurate to within 1% outside ~1.07 times the Einstein radius of a lens, by deriving an analytic function that can be used to estimate the applicability of any first-order analysis. The effect is too small to explain the discrepancy between weak- and strong-lensing estimates of the mass of the Bullet Cluster, and should not impact cluster surveys for the foreseeable future. In fact, it means that arclets can be used to measure shears closer to a cluster core than has been generally appreciated. However, the bias is significant for galaxy group or galaxy-galaxy lensing applications. At the level of accuracy demanded by dedicated future surveys, it also needs to be considered for measurements of the inner slope of cluster mass distributions and the small-scale end of the mass power spectrum.

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Additional Information:© 2008 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2007 September 10; accepted 2007 December 18; published 2008 January 8. The authors thank Marusa Bradac, Douglas Clowe, Yannick Mellier, Barnaby Rowe, and an anonymous referee. This work was supported by NASA grant ATP04-0000-0067 and DoE grant FG02-04ER41316.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Department of EnergyFG02-04ER41316
Subject Keywords:gravitational lensing
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:MASapjl08
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:13830
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:03 Apr 2009 22:42
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 00:44

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