Calibrated ultra fast image simulations for the Dark Energy Survey

Claudio Bruderer, Chihway Chang, Alexandre Refregier, Adam Amara, Joel Bergé, Lukas Gamper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Image simulations are becoming increasingly important in understanding the measurement process of the shapes of galaxies for weak lensing and the associated systematic effects. For this purpose we present the first implementation of the Monte Carlo Control Loops (MCCL), a coherent framework for studying systematic effects in weak lensing. It allows us to model and calibrate the shear measurement process using image simulations from the Ultra Fast Image Generator (UFig) and the image analysis software SExtractor. We apply this framework to a subset of the data taken during the Science Verification period (SV) of the Dark Energy Survey (DES). We calibrate the UFig simulations to be statistically consistent with one of the SV images, which covers ∼0.5 square degrees. We then perform tolerance analyses by perturbing six simulation parameters and study their impact on the shear measurement at the one-point level. This allows us to determine the relative importance of different parameters. For spatially constant systematic errors and point-spread function, the calibration of the simulation reaches the weak lensing precision needed for the DES SV survey area. Furthermore, we find a sensitivity of the shear measurement to the intrinsic ellipticity distribution, and an interplay between the magnitude-size and the pixel value diagnostics in constraining the noise model. This work is the first application of the MCCL framework to data and shows how it can be used to methodically study the impact of systematics on the cosmic shear measurement.

Original languageEnglish
Article number25
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2016


  • gravitational lensing: weak
  • methods: numerical
  • methods: statistical
  • surveys


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