Forthcoming space-based observations will require high-quality point spread function (PSF) models for weak gravitational lensing measurements. One approach to generating these models is using a wavefront model based on the known telescope optics. We present an empirical framework for validating such models to confirm that they match the actual PSF to within requirements by comparing the models to the observed light distributions of isolated stars. We apply this framework to TINY TIM, the standard tool for generating model PSFs for the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), testing its models against images taken by HST's Advanced Camera for Surveys in the Wide Field Channel. We show that TINY TIM's models, in the default configuration, differ significantly from the observed PSFs, most notably in their sizes. We find that the quality of TINY TIM PSFs can be improved through fitting the full set of Zernike polynomial coefficients that characterize the optics, to the point where the practical significance of the difference between model and observed PSFs is negligible for most use cases, resulting in additive and multiplicative biases both of order ∼4 × 10−4. We also show that most of this improvement can be retained through using an updated set of Zernike coefficients, which we provide.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
- Pub Date:
- June 2020
- methods: data analysis;
- gravitational lensing: weak;
- Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics
- 26 pages, 12 figures, code included. Accepted for publication by MNRAS