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[en] Many scientific goals for the Dark Energy Survey (DES) require calibration of optical/NIR broadband b=grizY photometry that is stable in time and uniform over the celestial sky to one percent or better. It is also necessary to limit to similar accuracy systematic uncertainty in the calibrated broadband magnitudes due to uncertainty in the spectrum of the source. Here we present a "Forward Global Calibration Method (FGCM)" for photometric calibration of the DES, and we present results of its application to the first three years of the survey (Y3A1). The FGCM combines data taken with auxiliary instrumentation at the observatory with data from the broad-band survey imaging itself and models of the instrument and atmosphere to estimate the spatial- and time-dependence of the passbands of individual DES survey exposures. "Standard" passbands are chosen that are typical of the passbands encountered during the survey. The passband of any individual observation is combined with an estimate of the source spectral shape to yield a magnitude mbstd in the standard system. This "chromatic correction" to the standard system is necessary to achieve sub-percent calibrations. The FGCM achieves reproducible and stable photometric calibration of standard magnitudes mbstd of stellar sources over the multi-year Y3A1 data sample with residual random calibration errors of σ=5−6 mmag per exposure. In conclusion, the accuracy of the calibration is uniform across the 5000 deg2 DES footprint to within σ=7 mmag. The systematic uncertainties of magnitudes in the standard system due to the spectra of sources are less than 5 mmag for main sequence stars with 0.5< g−i<3.0.
[en] “Cosmological redshift surveys” are experiments conducted with astronomical telescopes, imagers, and spectrographs, which map the three-dimensional structure of the universe on the largest scales. These maps are delineated by the positions of galaxies, quasars, and intergalactic hydrogen clouds. When interpreted in the context of Einstein’s theory of gravity, these maps can be used to infer the nature of the contents of the universe, including the mysterious “dark energy” that is driving the expansion of the universe to accelerate. While the directional positions of galaxies and other objects can be measured directly in images of the sky, the third dimension of their position (i.e., their distance from the Earth and the Milky Way Galaxy) must be measured by spectrographs that distribute their light as a function of frequency, enabling a measurement of their cosmological Doppler shift (or “redshift”), which serves as an observable proxy for distance. The largest cosmological redshift surveys, such as the “eBOSS” experiment of the fourth Sloan Digital Sky Survey, collect spectroscopic data for hundreds of thousands to millions of galaxies. Future experiments such as the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument will in turn collect tens of millions of spectra. To be feasible, redshift measurement methods in datasets of this scale must be made with automated software. This paper describes the algorithms, astrophysical templates, and implementation of a new redshift measurement software package that is optimized to run on large numbers of spectra with relatively low signal-to-noise ratio, typical of the most ambitious current and future cosmological redshift surveys. The software is demonstrated on spectroscopic data from the eBOSS survey, with performance that meets the scientific requirements of that experiment. The software is implemented in a general framework that will allow application to spectra from the DESI project in the future.
[en] Here, we present the first stable release of Halotools (v0.2), a community-driven Python package designed to build and test models of the galaxy-halo connection. Halotools provides a modular platform for creating mock universes of galaxies starting from a catalog of dark matter halos obtained from a cosmological simulation. The package supports many of the common forms used to describe galaxy-halo models: the halo occupation distribution (HOD), the conditional luminosity function (CLF), abundance matching, and alternatives to these models that include effects such as environmental quenching or variable galaxy assembly bias. Satellite galaxies can be modeled to live in subhalos, or to follow custom number density profiles within their halos, including spatial and/or velocity bias with respect to the dark matter profile. Here, the package has an optimized toolkit to make mock observations on a synthetic galaxy population, including galaxy clustering, galaxy-galaxy lensing, galaxy group identification, RSD multipoles, void statistics, pairwise velocities and others, allowing direct comparison to observations. Halotools is object-oriented, enabling complex models to be built from a set of simple, interchangeable components, including those of your own creation.
[en] Here, we describe an algorithm for identifying point-source transients and moving objects on reference-subtracted optical images containing artifacts of processing and instrumentation. The algorithm makes use of the supervised machine learning technique known as Random Forest. We present results from its use in the Dark Energy Survey Supernova program (DES-SN), where it was trained using a sample of 898,963 signal and background events generated by the transient detection pipeline. After reprocessing the data collected during the first DES-SN observing season (2013 September through 2014 February) using the algorithm, the number of transient candidates eligible for human scanning decreased by a factor of 13.4, while only 1.0% of the artificial Type Ia supernovae (SNe) injected into search images to monitor survey efficiency were lost, most of which were very faint events. Here we characterize the algorithm's performance in detail, and we discuss how it can inform pipeline design decisions for future time-domain imaging surveys, such as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and the Zwicky Transient Facility. An implementation of the algorithm and the training data used in this paper are available at at http://portal.nersc.gov/project/dessn/autoscan.
[en] A principal scientific goal of the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) is obtaining milliarcsecond astrometry to constrain exoplanet orbits. However, astrometry of directly imaged exoplanets is subject to biases, systematic errors, and speckle noise. Here, we describe an analytical procedure to forward model the signal of an exoplanet that accounts for both the observing strategy (angular and spectral differential imaging) and the data reduction method (Karhunen–Loève Image Projection algorithm). We use this forward model to measure the position of an exoplanet in a Bayesian framework employing Gaussian processes and Markov-chain Monte Carlo to account for correlated noise. In the case of GPI data on β Pic b, this technique, which we call Bayesian KLIP-FM Astrometry (BKA), outperforms previous techniques and yields 1σ errors at or below the one milliarcsecond level. We validate BKA by fitting a Keplerian orbit to 12 GPI observations along with previous astrometry from other instruments. The statistical properties of the residuals confirm that BKA is accurate and correctly estimates astrometric errors. Our constraints on the orbit of β Pic b firmly rule out the possibility of a transit of the planet at 10-σ significance. However, we confirm that the Hill sphere of β Pic b will transit, giving us a rare chance to probe the circumplanetary environment of a young, evolving exoplanet. As a result, we provide an ephemeris for photometric monitoring of the Hill sphere transit event, which will begin at the start of April in 2017 and finish at the end of January in 2018.
[en] This paper presents the non-homogeneous Poisson process (NHPP) for modeling the rate of fast radio bursts (FRBs) and other infrequently observed astronomical events. The NHPP, well-known in statistics, can model dependence of the rate on both astronomical features and the details of an observing campaign. This is particularly helpful for rare events like FRBs because the NHPP can combine information across surveys, making the most of all available information. The goal of the paper is two-fold. First, it is intended to be a tutorial on the use of the NHPP. Second, we build an NHPP model that incorporates beam patterns and a power law flux distribution for the rate of FRBs. Using information from 12 surveys including 15 detections, we find an all-sky FRB rate of 587 events per sky per day above a flux of 1 Jy (95% CI: 272, 924) and a flux power-law index of 0:91 (95% CI: 0.57, 1.25).
[en] In this paper, we present a study of quasar selection using the supernova fields of the Dark Energy Survey (DES). We used a quasar catalog from an overlapping portion of the SDSS Stripe 82 region to quantify the completeness and efficiency of selection methods involving color, probabilistic modeling, variability, and combinations of color/probabilistic modeling with variability. In all cases, we considered only objects that appear as point sources in the DES images. We examine color selection methods based on the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mid-IR W1-W2 color, a mixture of WISE and DES colors (g - i and i-W1), and a mixture of Vista Hemisphere Survey and DES colors (g - i and i - K). For probabilistic quasar selection, we used XDQSO, an algorithm that employs an empirical multi-wavelength flux model of quasars to assign quasar probabilities. Our variability selection uses the multi-band χ"2-probability that sources are constant in the DES Year 1 griz-band light curves. The completeness and efficiency are calculated relative to an underlying sample of point sources that are detected in the required selection bands and pass our data quality and photometric error cuts. We conduct our analyses at two magnitude limits, i < 19.8 mag and i < 22 mag. For the subset of sources with W1 and W2 detections, the W1-W2 color or XDQSOz method combined with variability gives the highest completenesses of >85% for both i-band magnitude limits and efficiencies of >80% to the bright limit and >60% to the faint limit; however, the giW1 and giW1+variability methods give the highest quasar surface densities. The XDQSOz method and combinations of W1W2/giW1/XDQSOz with variability are among the better selection methods when both high completeness and high efficiency are desired. We also present the OzDES Quasar Catalog of 1263 spectroscopically confirmed quasars from three years of OzDES observation in the 30 deg"2 of the DES supernova fields. Finally, the catalog includes quasars with redshifts up to z ~ 4 and brighter than i = 22 mag, although the catalog is not complete up to this magnitude limit.
[en] We report the discovery and dynamical analysis of 2015 BP, an extreme Trans-Neptunian Object detected detected by the Dark Energy Survey at a heliocentric distance of 55 AU and absolute magnitude Hr= 4.3. The current orbit, determined from a 1110-day observational arc, has semi-major axis 450 AU, eccentricity 0.92 and inclination 54 degrees. With these orbital elements, 2015 BP is the most extreme TNO discovered to date, as quantified by the reduced Kozai action, which is is a conserved quantity at fixed semi-major axis for axisymmetric perturbations. We discuss the orbital stability and evolution of this object in the context of the known Solar System, and find that 2015 BP displays rich dynamical behavior, including rapid diffusion in semi-major axis and more constrained variations in eccentricity and inclination. We also consider the long term orbital stability and evolutionary behavior within the context of the Planet Nine Hypothesis, and find that BP adds to the circumstantial evidence for the existence of this proposed new member of the Solar System, as it would represent the first member of the population of high-i, -shepherded TNOs.
[en] We report short-time variations in the plasma tail of C/2013 R1(Lovejoy). A series of short (2–3 minutes) exposure images with the 8.2 m Subaru telescope shows faint details of filaments and their motions over a 24 minute observing duration. We identified rapid movements of two knots in the plasma tail near the nucleus (∼3×105 km). Their speeds are 20 and 25 km s−1 along the tail and 3.8 and 2.2 km s−1 across it, respectively. These measurements set a constraint on an acceleration model of plasma tail and knots as they set the initial speed just after their formation. We also found a rapid narrowing of the tail. After correcting the motion along the tail, the narrowing speed is estimated to be ∼8 km s−1. These rapid motions suggest the need for high time-resolution studies of comet plasma tails with a large telescope.
[en] Using the new wideband capabilities of the ATCA, we obtain spectra for PKS 1718-649, a well-known gigahertz-peaked spectrum radio source. The observations, between approximately 1 and 10 GHz over 3 epochs spanning approximately 21 months, reveal variability both above the spectral peak at ∼3 GHz and below the peak. The combination of the low- and high-frequency variability cannot be easily explained using a single absorption mechanism, such as free–free absorption or synchrotron self-absorption. We find that the PKS 1718-649 spectrum and its variability are best explained by variations in the free–free optical depth on our line of sight to the radio source at low frequencies (below the spectral peak) and the adiabatic expansion of the radio source itself at high frequencies (above the spectral peak). The optical depth variations are found to be plausible when X-ray continuum absorption variability seen in samples of active galactic nuclei is considered. We find that the cause of the peaked spectrum in PKS 1718-649 is most likely due to free–free absorption. In agreement with previous studies, we find that the spectrum at each epoch of observation is best fit by a free–free absorption model characterized by a power-law distribution of free–free absorbing clouds. This agreement is extended to frequencies below the 1 GHz lower limit of the ATCA by considering new observations with Parkes at 725 MHz and 199 MHz observations with the newly operational Murchison Widefield Array. These lower frequency observations argue against families of absorption models (both free–free and synchrotron self-absorption) that are based on simple homogenous structures.