Dark Energy Survey Year 1 results: The impact of galaxy neighbours on weak lensing cosmology with IM3SHAPE

DES Collaboration

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


We use a suite of simulated images based on Year 1 of the Dark Energy Survey to explore the impact of galaxy neighbours on shape measurement and shear cosmology. The HOOPOE image simulations include realistic blending, galaxy positions, and spatial variations in depth and point spread function properties. Using the IM3SHAPE maximum-likelihood shape measurement code, we identify four mechanisms by which neighbours can have a non-negligible influence on shear estimation. These effects, if ignored, would contribute a net multiplicative bias of m ~ 0.03-0.09 in the Year One of the Dark Energy Survey (DES Y1) IM3SHAPE catalogue, though the precise impact will be dependent on both the measurement code and the selection cuts applied. This can be reduced to percentage level or less by removing objects with close neighbours, at a cost to the effective number density of galaxies neff of 30 per cent. We use the cosmological inference pipeline of DES Y1 to explore the cosmological implications of neighbour bias and show that omitting blending from the calibration simulation for DES Y1 would bias the inferred clustering amplitude S8 ≡ σ8m/0.3)0.5 by 2σ towards low values. Finally, we use the HOOPOE simulations to test the effect of neighbour-induced spatial correlations in the multiplicative bias.We find the impact on the recovered S8 of ignoring such correlations to be subdominant to statistical error at the current level of precision.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4524-4543
Number of pages20
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 21 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Cosmological parameters
  • Cosmology: observations
  • Galaxies: statistics
  • Gravitational lensing: weak

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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