The Sloan Digital Sky Survey Quasar Lens Search. V. Final Catalog from the Seventh Data Release

The Astronomical Journal (Impact Factor: 4.97). 04/2012; 143(5):119. DOI: 10.1088/0004-6256/143/5/119

ABSTRACT We present the final statistical sample of lensed quasars from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Quasar Lens Search (SQLS). The well-defined statistical lens sample consists of 26 lensed quasars brighter than i = 19.1 and in the redshift range of 0.6 < z < 2.2 selected from 50,826 spectroscopically confirmed quasars in the SDSS Data Release 7 (DR7), where we restrict the image separation range to 1'' < θ < 20'' and the i-band magnitude differences in two images to be smaller than 1.25 mag. The SDSS DR7 quasar catalog also contains 36 additional lenses identified with various techniques. In addition to these lensed quasars, we have identified 81 pairs of quasars from follow-up spectroscopy, 26 of which are physically associated binary quasars. The statistical lens sample covers a wide range of image separations, redshifts, and magnitudes, and therefore is suitable for systematic studies of cosmological parameters and surveys of the structure and evolution of galaxies and quasars.

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    ABSTRACT: Context. It will soon become possible to directly link the most accurate radio reference frame with the Gaia optical reference frame using many common extragalactic objects. It is important to know the level of coincidence between the radio and optical positions of compact active galactic nuclei (AGNs). Aims: Using the best catalogues available at present, we investigate how many AGNs with significantly large optical-radio positional offsets exist as well as the possible causes of these offsets. Methods: We performed a case study by finding optical counterparts to the International Celestial Reference Frame (ICRF2) radio sources in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Data Release 9 (DR9). The ICRF2 catalogue was used as a reference because the radio positions determined by Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) observations are about two orders of magnitude more accurate than the optical positions. Results: We find 1297 objects in common for ICRF2 and SDSS DR9. Statistical analysis of the optical-radio differences verifies that the SDSS DR9 positions are accurate to ~55 milliarcseconds (mas) in both right ascension and declination, with no systematic offset with respect to ICRF2. We find 51 sources (~4% of the sample) for which the positional offset exceeds 170 mas (~3σ). Astrophysical explanations must exist for the majority of these outliers. There are three known strong gravitational lenses among them. Dual AGNs or recoiling supermassive black holes may also be possible. Conclusions: The most accurate Gaia-VLBI reference frame link will require a careful selection of a common set of objects by eliminating the outliers. On the other hand, the significant optical-radio positional non-coincidences may offer a new tool for finding e.g. gravitational lenses or dual AGN candidates. Detailed follow-up radio interferometric and optical spectroscopic observations are encouraged to investigate the outlier sources found in this study.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 05/2013; · 4.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report the discovery of four doubly imaged quasar lenses. All the four systems are selected as lensed quasar candidates from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey data. We confirm their lensing hypothesis with additional imaging and spectroscopic follow-up observations. The discovered lenses are SDSS J0743+2457 with the source redshift z_s=2.165, the lens redshift z_l=0.381, and the image separation theta=1.034", SDSS J1128+2402 with z_s=1.608 and theta=0.844", SDSS J1405+0959 with z_s=1.810, z_l~0.66, and theta=1.978", and SDSS J1515+1511 with z_s=2.054, z_l=0.742, and theta=1.989". It is difficult to estimate the lens redshift of SDSS J1128+2402 from the current data. Two of the four systems (SDSS J1405+0959 and SDSS J1515+1511) are included in our final statistical lens sample to derive constraints on dark energy and the evolution of massive galaxies.
    The Astronomical Journal 01/2014; 147(6). · 4.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present RingFinder, a tool for finding galaxy-scale strong gravitational lenses in multiband imaging data. By construction, the method is sensitive to configurations involving a massive foreground early-type galaxy and a faint, background, blue source. RingFinder detects the presence of blue residuals embedded in an otherwise smooth red light distribution by difference imaging in two bands. The method is automated for efficient application to current and future surveys, having originally been designed for the 150-deg2 Canada France Hawaii Telescope Legacy Survey (CFHTLS). We describe each of the steps of RingFinder. We then carry out extensive simulations to assess completeness and purity. For sources with magnification mu>4, RingFinder reaches 42% (resp. 25%) completeness and 29% (resp. 86%) purity before (resp. after) visual inspection. The completeness of RingFinder is substantially improved in the particular range of Einstein radii 0.8 < REin < 2. and lensed images brighter than g = 22.5, where it can be as high as 70%. RingFinder does not introduce any significant bias in the source or deflector population. We conclude by presenting the final catalog of RingFinder CFHTLS galaxy-scale strong lens candidates. Additional information obtained with Hubble Space Telescope and Keck Adaptive Optics high resolution imaging, and with Keck and Very Large Telescope spectroscopy, is used to assess the validity of our classification, and measure the redshift of the foreground and the background objects. From an initial sample of 640,000 early type galaxies, RingFinder returns 2500 candidates, which we further reduce by visual inspection to 330 candidates. We confirm 33 new gravitational lenses from the main sample of candidates, plus an additional 16 systems taken from earlier versions of RingFinder. First applications are presented in the SL2S galaxy-scale Lens Sample paper series.
    The Astrophysical Journal 03/2014; 785(2). · 6.28 Impact Factor


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