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      Probing the small-scale structure in strongly lensed systems via transdimensional inference

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          Abstract

          Strong lensing is a sensitive probe of the small-scale density fluctuations in the Universe. We implement a novel approach to modeling strongly lensed systems using probabilistic cataloging, which is a transdimensional, hierarchical, and Bayesian framework to sample from a metamodel (union of models with different dimensionality) consistent with observed photon count maps. Probabilistic cataloging allows us to robustly characterize modeling covariances within and across lens models with different numbers of subhalos. Unlike traditional cataloging of subhalos, it does not require model subhalos to improve the goodness of fit above the detection threshold. Instead, it allows the exploitation of all information contained in the photon count maps, for instance, when constraining the subhalo mass function. We further show that, by not including these small subhalos in the lens model, fixed-dimensional inference methods can significantly mismodel the data. Using a simulated Hubble Space Telescope (HST) dataset, we show that the subhalo mass function can be probed even when many subhalos in the sample catalogs are individually below the detection threshold and would be absent in a traditional catalog. With the planned Wide Field Infrared Space Telescope (WFIRST), simultaneous probabilistic cataloging of dark subhalos in high-resolution, deep strong lens images has the potential to constrain the subhalo mass function at even lower masses.

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          Constraints on the identity of the dark matter from strong gravitational lenses

          , , (2016)
          The cold dark matter (CDM) cosmological model unambigously predicts that a large number of haloes should survive as subhaloes when they are accreted into a larger halo. The CDM model would be ruled out if such substructures were shown not to exist. By contrast, if the dark matter consists of warm particles (WDM), then below a threshold mass that depends on the particle mass far fewer substructures would be present. Finding subhaloes below a certain mass would then rule out warm particle masses below some value. Strong gravitational lensing provides a clean method to measure the subhalo mass function through distortions in the structure of Einstein rings and giant arcs.Using mock lensing observations constructed from high-resolution N-body simulations, we show that measurements of approximately 100 strong lens systems with a detection limit of \(10^7 h^{-1} M_{\odot}\) would clearly distinguish CDM from WDM in the case where this consists of 7 keV sterile neutrinos such as those that might be responsible for the 3.5 keV X-ray emission line recently detected in galaxies and clusters.
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            Author and article information

            Journal
            2017-06-19
            Article
            1706.06111
            75b58362-c74a-4e84-9379-826f5b3c2e00

            http://arxiv.org/licenses/nonexclusive-distrib/1.0/

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            Custom metadata
            astro-ph.CO astro-ph.IM hep-ph

            Cosmology & Extragalactic astrophysics,High energy & Particle physics,Instrumentation & Methods for astrophysics

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