University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy
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Liliya L.R. Williams

Lens Models Under the Microscope: Comparison of Hubble Frontier Field Cluster Magnification Maps
Priewe, Jett; Williams, Liliya L. R.; Liesenborgs, Jori; Coe, Dan; Rodney, Steven A., submitted to MNRAS

Abstract

Using the power of gravitational lensing magnification by massive galaxy clusters, the Hubble Frontier Fields provide deep views of six patches of the high redshift Universe. The combination of deep Hubble imaging and exceptional lensing strength has revealed the greatest numbers of multiply-imaged galaxies available to constrain models of cluster mass distributions. However, even with O(100) images per cluster, the uncertainties associated with the reconstructions are not negligible. The goal of this paper is to present a quantitative and visual impression of the diversity of model magnification predictions. We examine 7 and 9 mass models of Abell 2744 and MACS J0416, respectively, submitted to the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes for public distribution in September 2015. The dispersion between model predictions increases from 20% at common low magnifications (\mu~2) to 70% at rare high magnifications (\mu~40). MACS J0416 exhibits smaller dispersions than Abell 2744 for 2<\mu<10. We show that magnification maps based on different lens inversion techniques typically differ from each other by more than their quoted statistical errors. This suggests that some models probably underestimate the true uncertainties, which are primarily due to various lensing degeneracies. Though the exact mass sheet degeneracy is broken, its approximate counterpart is not broken at least in Abell 2744. Other, local degeneracies are also present in both clusters. The comparison of models in this paper is complementary to the exercise of comparing reconstructions of known synthetic mass distributions. By focusing here on a comparison of actual observed clusters, we can identify the clusters that are best constrained, and therefore provide the clearest view of the distant Universe.