Interpolating point spread function anisotropy
Planned wide-field weak lensing surveys are expected to reduce the statistical errors on the shear field to unprecedented levels. In contrast, systematic errors like those induced by the convolution with the point spread function (PSF) will not benefit from that scaling effect and will require very accurate modeling and correction. While numerous methods have been devised to carry out the PSF correction itself, modeling of the PSF shape and its spatial variations across the instrument field of view has, so far, attracted much less attention. This step is nevertheless crucial because the PSF is only known at star positions while the correction has to be performed at any position on the sky. A reliable interpolation scheme is therefore mandatory and a popular approach has been to use low-order bivariate polynomials. In the present paper, we evaluate four other classical spatial interpolation methods based on splines (B-splines), inverse distance weighting (IDW), radial basis functions (RBF) and ordinary Kriging (OK). These methods are tested on the Star-challenge part of the GRavitational lEnsing Accuracy Testing 2010 (GREAT10) simulated data and are compared with the classical polynomial fitting (Polyfit). In all our methods we model the PSF using a single Moffat profile and we interpolate the fitted parameters at a set of required positions. This allowed us to win the Star-challenge of GREAT10, with the B-splines method. However, we also test all our interpolation methods independently of the way the PSF is modeled, by interpolating the GREAT10 star fields themselves (i.e., the PSF parameters are known exactly at star positions). We find in that case RBF to be the clear winner, closely followed by the other local methods, IDW and OK. The global methods, Polyfit and B-splines, are largely behind, especially in fields with (ground-based) turbulent PSFs. In fields with non-turbulent PSFs, all interpolators reach a variance on PSF systematics sigma(2)(sys) sys better than the 1 X 10(-7) upper bound expected by future space-based surveys, with the local interpolators performing better than the global ones.