LoCuSS: Exploring the selection of faint blue background galaxies for cluster weak-lensing

Felicia Ziparo, Graham P. Smith, Nobuhiro Okabe, Chris P. Haines, Maria J. Pereira, Eiichi Egami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Cosmological constraints from galaxy clusters rely on accurate measurements of the mass and internal structure of clusters. An important source of systematic uncertainty in cluster mass and structure measurements is the secure selection of background galaxies that are gravitationally lensed by clusters. This issue has been shown to be particular severe for faint blue galaxies. We therefore explore the selection of faint blue background galaxies, by reference to photometric redshift catalogues derived from the Cosmological Evolution Survey (COSMOS) and our own observations of massive galaxy clusters at z ≃ 0.2. We show that methods relying on photometric redshifts of galaxies in/behind clusters based on observations through five filters, and on deep 30-band COSMOS photometric redshifts are both inadequate to identify safely faint blue background galaxies with the same 1 per cent contamination level that we have achieved with red galaxies. This is due to the small number of filters used by the former, and absence of massive galaxy clusters at redshifts of interest in the latter. Nevertheless, our least contaminated blue galaxy sample yields stacked weak-lensing results consistent with our previously published results based on red galaxies, and we show that the stacked clustercentric number density profile of these faint blue galaxies is consistent with expectations from consideration of the lens magnification signal of the clusters. Indeed, the observed number density of blue background galaxies changes by ~10-30 per cent across the radial range over which other surveys assume it to be flat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4004-4018
Number of pages15
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2016


  • Galaxies: clusters: general
  • Galaxies: general
  • Galaxies: photometry
  • Galaxies: statistics
  • Gravitational lensing: weak

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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