Model selection with strong-lensing systems

Kyle Leaf, Fulvio Melia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


In this paper, we use an unprecedentedly large sample (158) of confirmed strong lens systems for model selection, comparing five well-studied Friedmann-Robertson-Walker cosmologies: ΛCDM, wCDM(the standardmodel with a variable dark-energy equation of state), the Rh =ct universe, the (empty) Milne cosmology, and the classical Einstein-de Sitter (matter-dominated) universe. We first use these sources to optimize the parameters in the standard model and show that they are consistent with Planck, though the quality of the best fit is not satisfactory. We demonstrate that this is likely due to underreported errors, or to errors yet to be included in this kind of analysis. We suggest that the missing dispersion may be due to scatter about a pure single isothermal sphere (SIS) model that is often assumed for the mass distribution in these lenses. We then use the Bayes information criterion, with the inclusion of a suggested SIS dispersion, to calculate the relative likelihoods and ranking of these models, showing that Milne and Einstein-de Sitter are completely ruled out, while Rh = ct is preferred over ΛCDM/wCDM with a relative probability of ~73 per cent versus ~24 per cent. The recently reported sample of new strong lens candidates by the Dark Energy Survey, if confirmed, may be able to demonstrate which of these two models is favoured over the other at a level exceeding 37sigma;.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5104-5111
Number of pages8
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 21 2018


  • Cosmology: observations
  • Cosmology: theory
  • Distance scale
  • Galaxies: general
  • Large-scale structure ofUniverse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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