Hubble Frontier Fields: Systematic errors in strong lensing models of galaxy clusters - implications for cosmography

Ana Acebron, Eric Jullo, Marceau Limousin, André Tilquin, Carlo Giocoli, Mathilde Jauzac, Guillaume Mahler, Johan Richard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Strong gravitational lensing by galaxy clusters is a fundamental tool to study dark matter and constrain the geometry of the Universe. Recently, the Hubble Space Telescope Frontier Fields programme has allowed a significant improvement of mass and magnification measurements but lensing models still have a residual root mean square between 0.2 arcsec and few arcseconds, not yet completely understood. Systematic errors have to be better understood and treated in order to use strong lensing clusters as reliable cosmological probes. We have analysed two simulated Hubble-Frontier-Fields-like clusters from the Hubble Frontier Fields Comparison Challenge, Ares and Hera. We use several estimators (relative bias on magnification, density profiles, ellipticity and orientation) to quantify the goodness of our reconstructions by comparing our multiple models, optimized with the parametric software LENSTOOL, with the input models.We have quantified the impact of systematic errors arising, first, from the choice of different density profiles and configurations and, secondly, from the availability of constraints (spectroscopic or photometric redshifts, redshift ranges of the background sources) in the parametric modelling of strong lensing galaxy clusters and therefore on the retrieval of cosmological parameters. We find that substructures in the outskirts have a significant impact on the position of the multiple images, yielding tighter cosmological contours. The need for wide-field imaging around massive clusters is thus reinforced. We show that competitive cosmological constraints can be obtained also with complex multimodal clusters and that photometric redshifts improve the constraints on cosmological parameters when considering a narrow range of (spectroscopic) redshifts for the sources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1809-1825
Number of pages17
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - 11 Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Cosmological parameters
  • Galaxies: Clusters: General
  • Gravitational lensing: Strong

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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