Maciej Bilicki - University of Cape Town

Maciej Bilicki
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Maciej Bilicki
University of Cape Town
United States

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Pub Categories

Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics (20)
Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (10)
Astrophysics of Galaxies (7)
Astrophysics (2)
General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology (1)
Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (1)
High Energy Physics - Phenomenology (1)
High Energy Physics - Theory (1)
Physics - Physics and Society (1)

Publications Authored By Maciej Bilicki

Verlinde (2016) proposed that the observed excess gravity in galaxies and clusters is the consequence of Emergent Gravity (EG). In this theory the standard gravitational laws are modified on galactic and larger scales due to the displacement of dark energy by baryonic matter. EG gives an estimate of the excess gravity (described as an apparent dark matter density) in terms of the baryonic mass distribution and the Hubble parameter. Read More

We present a new training set for estimating empirical photometric redshifts of galaxies, which was created as part of the 2dFLenS project. This training set is located in a 700 sq deg area of the KiDS South field and is randomly selected and nearly complete at r<19.5. Read More

We report the discovery of a potentially major supercluster that extends across the Galactic Plane in the constellation of Vela, at a mean recessional velocity of ~18,000 km/s. Recent multi-object spectroscopic observations of this Vela Supercluster (VSCL), using AAOmega+2dF and the Southern African Large Telescope, confirm an extended galaxy overdensity in the Zone of Avoidance (ZOA) located where residual bulk flows predict a considerable mass excess. We present a preliminary analysis of ~4,500 new spectroscopic galaxy redshifts obtained in the ZOA centred on the Vela region (l=272. Read More

We measure the cross-correlation between Fermi-LAT gamma-ray photons and over 1000 deg$^2$ of weak lensing data from the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Lensing Survey (CFHTLenS), the Red Cluster Sequence Lensing Survey (RCSLenS), and the Kilo Degree Survey (KiDS). We present the first measurement of tomographic weak lensing cross-correlations and the first application of spectral binning to cross-correlations between gamma rays and weak lensing. The measurements are performed using an angular power spectrum estimator while the covariance is estimated using an analytical prescription. Read More

Authors: Demitri Muna, Michael Alexander, Alice Allen, Richard Ashley, Daniel Asmus, Ruyman Azzollini, Michele Bannister, Rachael Beaton, Andrew Benson, G. Bruce Berriman, Maciej Bilicki, Peter Boyce, Joanna Bridge, Jan Cami, Eryn Cangi, Xian Chen, Nicholas Christiny, Christopher Clark, Michelle Collins, Johan Comparat, Neil Cook, Darren Croton, Isak Delberth Davids, Éric Depagne, John Donor, Leonardo A. dos Santos, Stephanie Douglas, Alan Du, Meredith Durbin, Dawn Erb, Daniel Faes, J. G. Fernández-Trincado, Anthony Foley, Sotiria Fotopoulou, Søren Frimann, Peter Frinchaboy, Rafael Garcia-Dias, Artur Gawryszczak, Elizabeth George, Sebastian Gonzalez, Karl Gordon, Nicholas Gorgone, Catherine Gosmeyer, Katie Grasha, Perry Greenfield, Rebekka Grellmann, James Guillochon, Mark Gurwell, Marcel Haas, Alex Hagen, Daryl Haggard, Tim Haines, Patrick Hall, Wojciech Hellwing, Edmund Christian Herenz, Samuel Hinton, Renee Hlozek, John Hoffman, Derek Holman, Benne Willem Holwerda, Anthony Horton, Cameron Hummels, Daniel Jacobs, Jens Juel Jensen, David Jones, Arna Karick, Luke Kelley, Matthew Kenworthy, Ben Kitchener, Dominik Klaes, Saul Kohn, Piotr Konorski, Coleman Krawczyk, Kyler Kuehn, Teet Kuutma, Michael T. Lam, Richard Lane, Jochen Liske, Diego Lopez-Camara, Katherine Mack, Sam Mangham, Qingqing Mao, David J. E. Marsh, Cecilia Mateu, Loïc Maurin, James McCormac, Ivelina Momcheva, Hektor Monteiro, Michael Mueller, Roberto Munoz, Rohan Naidu, Nicholas Nelson, Christian Nitschelm, Chris North, Juan Nunez-Iglesias, Sara Ogaz, Russell Owen, John Parejko, Vera Patrício, Joshua Pepper, Marshall Perrin, Timothy Pickering, Jennifer Piscionere, Richard Pogge, Radek Poleski, Alkistis Pourtsidou, Adrian M. Price-Whelan, Meredith L. Rawls, Shaun Read, Glen Rees, Hanno Rein, Thomas Rice, Signe Riemer-Sørensen, Naum Rusomarov, Sebastian F. Sanchez, Miguel Santander-García, Gal Sarid, William Schoenell, Aleks Scholz, Robert L. Schuhmann, William Schuster, Peter Scicluna, Marja Seidel, Lijing Shao, Pranav Sharma, Aleksandar Shulevski, David Shupe, Cristóbal Sifón, Brooke Simmons, Manodeep Sinha, Ian Skillen, Bjoern Soergel, Thomas Spriggs, Sundar Srinivasan, Abigail Stevens, Ole Streicher, Eric Suchyta, Joshua Tan, O. Grace Telford, Romain Thomas, Chiara Tonini, Grant Tremblay, Sarah Tuttle, Tanya Urrutia, Sam Vaughan, Miguel Verdugo, Alexander Wagner, Josh Walawender, Andrew Wetzel, Kyle Willett, Peter K. G. Williams, Guang Yang, Guangtun Zhu, Andrea Zonca

The Astropy Project ( is, in its own words, "a community effort to develop a single core package for Astronomy in Python and foster interoperability between Python astronomy packages." For five years this project has been managed, written, and operated as a grassroots, self-organized, almost entirely volunteer effort while the software is used by the majority of the astronomical community. Read More

We present The-wiZZ, an open source and user-friendly software for estimating the redshift distributions of photometric galaxies with unknown redshifts by spatially cross-correlating them against a reference sample with known redshifts. The main benefit of The-wiZZ is in separating the angular pair finding and correlation estimation from the computation of the output clustering redshifts allowing anyone to create a clustering redshift for their sample without the intervention of an "expert". It allows the end user of a given survey to select any sub-sample of photometric galaxies with unknown redshifts, match this sample's catalog indices into a value-added data file, and produce a clustering redshift estimation for this sample in a fraction of the time it would take to run all the angular correlations needed to produce a clustering redshift. Read More


We assess the effect of the local large scale structure on the estimation of two-point statistics of the observed radial peculiar velocities of galaxies. A large N-body simulation is used to examine these statistics from the perspective of random observers as well as "Local Group (LG)-like" observers conditioned to reside in an environment resembling the observed universe within 20 Mpc. The local environment systematically distorts the shape and amplitude of velocity statistics with respect to ensemble-averaged measurements made by a Copernican (random) observer. Read More

Galaxies and their dark matter haloes are part of a complex network of mass structures, collectively called the cosmic web. Using the tidal tensor prescription these structures can be classified into four cosmic environments: voids, sheets, filaments and knots. As the cosmic web may influence the formation and evolution of dark matter haloes and the galaxies they host, we aim to study the effect of these cosmic environments on the average mass of galactic haloes. Read More

The WISE satellite has detected hundreds of millions sources over the entire sky. Classifying them reliably is however a challenging task due to degeneracies in WISE multicolour space and low levels of detection in its two longest-wavelength bandpasses. Here we aim at obtaining comprehensive and reliable star, galaxy and quasar catalogues based on automatic source classification in full-sky WISE data. Read More

Various aspects of cosmology require comprehensive all-sky mapping of the cosmic web to considerable depths. In order to probe the whole extragalactic sky beyond 100 Mpc, one must draw on multiwavelength datasets and state-of-the-art photometric redshift techniques. Here I summarize our dedicated program that employs the largest photometric all-sky surveys -- 2MASS, WISE and SuperCOSMOS -- to obtain accurate redshift estimates of millions of galaxies. Read More

We have undertaken a dedicated program of automatic source classification in the WISE database merged with SuperCOSMOS scans, comprehensively identifying galaxies, quasars and stars on most of the unconfused sky. We use the Support Vector Machines classifier for that purpose, trained on SDSS spectroscopic data. The classification has been applied to a photometric dataset based on all-sky WISE 3. Read More

We present the first results of our dedicated programme of automatised classification of galaxies, stars and quasars in the mid-infrared all-sky data from the WISE survey. We employ the Support Vector Machines (SVM) algorithm, which defines a hyperplane separating different classes of sources in a multidimensional space of arbitrarily chosen parameters. This approach consists of four general steps: 1) selection of the training sample, 2) selection of the optimal parameter space, 3) training of the classifier, 4) application to target data. Read More

Affiliations: 1Ned, 2Ned, 3Ned, 4Ned, 5Ned, 6Ned, 7Ned, 8Ned, 9Ned, 10Ned, 11Ned, 12Ned, 13Ned, 14Ned, 15Ned, 16Ned, 17Ned, 18Ned, 19Ned, 20Ned, 21Ned, 22Ned, 23Ned, 24Ned, 25Ned, 26Ned, 27Ned, 28Ned, 29Ned, 30Ned, 31Ned, 32Ned, 33Ned, 34Ned, 35Ned, 36Ned, 37Ned, 38Ned, 39Ned, 40Ned, 41Ned, 42Ned, 43Ned, 44Ned, 45Ned, 46Ned, 47Ned, 48Ned, 49Ned, 50Ned, 51Ned

During the "WISE at 5: Legacy and Prospects" conference in Pasadena, CA -- which ran from February 10 - 12, 2015 -- attendees were invited to engage in an interactive session exploring the future uses of the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) data. The 65 participants -- many of whom are extensive users of the data -- brainstormed the top questions still to be answered by the mission, as well as the complementary current and future datasets and additional processing of WISE/NEOWISE data that would aid in addressing these most important scientific questions. The results were mainly bifurcated between topics related to extragalactic studies (e. Read More

Using the 2MASS Photometric Redshift catalogue we perform a number of statistical tests aimed at detecting possible departures from statistical homogeneity and isotropy in the large-scale structure of the Universe. Making use of the angular homogeneity index, an observable proposed in a previous publication, as well as studying the scaling of the angular clustering and number counts with magnitude limit, we place constraints on the fractal nature of the galaxy distribution. We find that the statistical properties of our sample are in excellent agreement with the standard cosmological model, and that it reaches the homogeneous regime significantly faster than a class of fractal models with dimensions $D<2. Read More

Affiliations: 1University of Cape Town, 2University of Edinburgh, 3University of Cape Town, 4University of Cape Town, 5University of Cape Town

Our view of the low-redshift Cosmic Web has been revolutionized by galaxy redshift surveys such as 6dFGS, SDSS and 2MRS. However, the trade-off between depth and angular coverage limits a systematic three-dimensional account of the entire sky beyond the Local Volume (z<0.05). Read More

Affiliations: 1University of Cape Town, 2University of Cape Town, 3University of Edinburgh, 4University of Cape Town, 5University of Cape Town

Key cosmological applications require the three-dimensional galaxy distribution on the entire celestial sphere. These include measuring the gravitational pull on the Local Group, estimating the large-scale bulk flow and testing the Copernican principle. However, the largest all-sky redshift surveys -- the 2MRS and IRAS PSCz -- have median redshifts of only z=0. Read More


In this contribution we present the preliminary results regarding the non-linear BAO signal in higher-order statistics of the cosmic density field. We use ensembles of N-body simulations to show that the non-linear evolution changes the amplitudes of the BAO signal, but has a negligible effect on the scale of the BAO feature. The latter observation accompanied by the fact that the BAO feature amplitude roughly doubles as one moves to higher orders, suggests that the higher-order correlation amplitudes can be used as probe of the BAO signal. Read More

Comparison of peculiar velocities of galaxies with their gravitational accelerations (induced by the density field) is one of the methods to constrain the redshift distortion parameter \beta=(\Omega_m^0.55)/b, where \Omega_m is the non-relativistic matter density parameter and b is the linear bias. In particular, one can use the motion of the Local Group (LG) for that purpose. Read More

We analyse the possibility that our Universe could be described by the model recently proposed by Melia & Shevchuk (2012), where the Hubble scale R_h=c/H is at all times equal to the distance ct that light has travelled since the Big Bang. In such a model, the scale factor is proportional to cosmic time and there is neither acceleration nor deceleration of the expansion. We first point out problems with the very foundations of the model and its consequences for the evolution of the Universe. Read More

In this thesis, we use the motion of the Local Group of galaxies (LG) through the Universe to measure the cosmological parameter of non-relativistic matter density, Omega_m. For that purpose, we compare the peculiar velocity of the LG with its gravitational acceleration. The former is known from the dipole of the cosmic microwave background radiation and the latter is estimated here from the clustering dipole of galaxies in the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS) Extended Source Catalog. Read More

There is a long-standing controversy about the convergence of the dipole moment of the galaxy angular distribution (the so-called clustering dipole). We study the growth of the clustering dipole of galaxies as a function of the limiting flux of the sample from the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS). Contrary to some earlier claims, we find that the dipole does not converge before the completeness limit of the 2MASS Extended Source Catalog, i. Read More

We study the growth of the clustering dipole of galaxies from the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS). We find that the dipole does not converge before the completeness limit of the 2MASS Extended Source Catalog, i.e. Read More

In measurements of the clustering dipole from all-sky surveys, an important problem is the lack of information about galaxy distribution in the so-called Zone of Avoidance (ZoA). The existence of the Local Void (LV) has a systematic effect on these measurements. If the ZoA is randomly filled with mock galaxies, then the calculated acceleration of the Local Group of galaxies (LG) has a spurious component, resulting from the lack of real galaxies in the intersection of the LV with the ZoA. Read More

Affiliations: 1Copernicus Astronomical Center, 2Copernicus Astronomical Center
Category: Astrophysics

We study the cosmic velocity-density relation using the spherical collapse model (SCM) as a proxy to non-linear dynamics. Although the dependence of this relation on cosmological parameters is known to be weak, we retain the density parameter Omega_m in SCM equations, in order to study the limit Omega_m -> 0. We show that in this regime the considered relation is strictly linear, for arbitrary values of the density contrast, on the contrary to some claims in the literature. Read More

Affiliations: 1Copernicus Center, 2Universite Paris XI, 3Copernicus Center, 4Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, 5Copernicus Center
Category: Astrophysics

A comparison of the 2MASS flux dipole to the CMB dipole can serve as a method to constrain a combination of the cosmological parameter Omega_m and the luminosity bias of the 2MASS survey. For this constraint to be as tight as possible, it is necessary to maximize the correlation between the two dipoles. This can be achieved by optimizing the survey window through which the flux dipole is measured. Read More