skip to main content


Title: Cosmic variance of the galaxy cluster weak lensing signal

Intrinsic variations of the projected density profiles of clusters of galaxies at fixed mass are a source of uncertainty for cluster weak lensing. We present a semi-analytical model to account for this effect, based on a combination of variations in halo concentration, ellipticity and orientation, and the presence of correlated haloes. We calibrate the parameters of our model at the 10 per cent level to match the empirical cosmic variance of cluster profiles at M 200m ≈ 10 14…10 15h –1M , z = 0.25…0.5 in a cosmological simulation. We show that weak lensing measurements of clusters significantly underestimate mass uncertainties if intrinsic profile variations are ignored, and that our model can be used to provide correct mass likelihoods. Effects on the achievable accuracy of weak lensing cluster mass measurements are particularly strong for the most massive clusters and deep observations (with ≈20 per cent uncertainty from cosmic variance alone at M 200m ≈ 10 15h –1M and z = 0.25), but significant also under typical ground-based conditions. We show that neglecting intrinsic profile variations leads to biases in the mass-observable relation constrained with weak lensing, both for intrinsic scatter and overall scale (the latter at the 15 permore » cent level). Furthermore, these biases are in excess of the statistical errors of upcoming surveys and can be avoided if the cosmic variance of cluster profiles is accounted for.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Univ. Observatory Munich, Munich (Germany); Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching (Germany)
  2. Stanford Univ., Stanford, CA (United States); SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0035-8711; arXiv:1501.01632
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 449; Journal Issue: 4; Journal ID: ISSN 0035-8711
Royal Astronomical Society
Research Org:
SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; astrophysics; ASTRO; gravitational lensing: weak; galaxies: clusters: general; cosmology: observations
OSTI Identifier: