Comments on the mass sheet degeneracy in cosmography analyses

Luca Teodori, Kfir Blum, Emanuele Castorina, Marko Simonović, Yotam Soreq

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We make a number of comments regarding modeling degeneracies in strong lensing measurements of the Hubble parameter H0. The first point concerns the impact of weak lensing associated with different segments of the line of sight. We show that external convergence terms associated with the lens-source and observer-lens segments need to be included in cosmographic modeling, in addition to the usual observer-source term, to avoid systematic bias in the inferred value of H0. Specifically, we show how an incomplete account of some line of sight terms biases stellar kinematics as well as ray tracing simulation methods to alleviate the mass sheet degeneracy. The second point concerns the use of imaging data for multiple strongly-lensed sources in a given system. We show that the mass sheet degeneracy is not fully resolved by the availability of multiple sources: some degeneracy remains because of differential external convergence between the different sources. Similarly, differential external convergence also complicates the use of multiple sources in addressing the approximate mass sheet degeneracy associated with a local ("internal") core component in lens galaxies. This internal-external degeneracy is amplified by the non-monotonicity of the angular diameter distance as a function of redshift. For a rough assessment of the weak lensing effects, we provide estimates of external convergence using the nonlinear matter power spectrum, paying attention to non-equal time correlators.
Original languageEnglish
Article number027
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
Issue number7
StatePublished - 15 Jul 2022


  • gravitational lensing
  • weak gravitational lensing

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics


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