The effect of distant large scale structure on weak lensing mass estimates
Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen, PO Box 800, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands
Corresponding author: H. Hoekstra, email@example.com
Accepted: 19 February 2001
We quantify the uncertainty in weak lensing mass estimates of clusters of galaxies, caused by distant (uncorrelated) large scale structure along the line of sight. We find that the effect is fairly small for deep observations of massive clusters ( km s-1) at intermediate redshifts, where the bulk of the sources are at high redshifts compared to the cluster redshift. If the lensing signal is measured out to Mpc the typical relative uncertainty in the mass is about . However, in other situations the induced uncertainty can be larger. For instance, in the case of nearby clusters, such as the Coma cluster, background structures introduce a considerable uncertainty in the mass, limiting the maximum achievable signal-to-noise ratio to ~7, even for deep observations. The noise in the cluster mass estimate caused by the large scale structure increases with increasing aperture size, which will also complicate attempts to constrain cluster mass profiles at large distances from the cluster centre. However, the distant large scale structure studied here can be considered an additional (statistical) source of error, and by averaging the results of several clusters the noise is decreased.
Key words: cosmology / gravitational lensing / galaxies: clusters: / dark matter
© ESO, 2001