KiDS+GAMA: Intrinsic alignment model constraints for current and future weak lensing cosmology

Harry Johnston*, Christos Georgiou, Benjamin Joachimi, Henk Hoekstra, Nora Elisa Chisari, Daniel Farrow, Maria Cristina Fortuna, Catherine Heymans, Shahab Joudaki, Konrad Kuijken, Angus Wright

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We directly constrain the non-linear alignment (NLA) model of intrinsic galaxy alignments, analysing the most representative and complete flux-limited sample of spectroscopic galaxies available for cosmic shear surveys. We measure the projected galaxy position-intrinsic shear correlations and the projected galaxy clustering signal using high-resolution imaging from the Kilo Degree Survey (KiDS) overlapping with the GAMA spectroscopic survey, and data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Separating samples by colour, we make no significant detection of blue galaxy alignments, constraining the blue galaxy NLA amplitude $A_{\textrm{IA}}^{\textrm{B}}=0.21^{+0.37}_{-0.36}$ to be consistent with zero. We make robust detections ($\sim9\sigma$) for red galaxies, with $A_{\textrm{IA}}^{\textrm{R}}=3.18^{+0.47}_{-0.46}$, corresponding to a net radial alignment with the galaxy density field, and we find no evidence for any scaling of alignments with galaxy luminosity. We provide informative priors for current and future weak lensing surveys, an improvement over de facto wide priors that allow for unrealistic levels of intrinsic alignment contamination. For a colour-split cosmic shear analysis of the final KiDS survey area, we forecast that our priors will improve the constraining power on $S_{8}$ and the dark energy equation of state $w_{0}$, by up to $62\%$ and $51\%$, respectively. Our results indicate, however, that the modelling of red/blue-split galaxy alignments may be insufficient to describe samples with variable central/satellite galaxy fractions.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA30
Pages (from-to)1-25
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


  • astro-ph.CO
  • gravitational lensing: weak
  • cosmology: observations
  • large-scale structure of Universe


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