A New Window of Exploration in the Mass Spectrum: Strong Lensing by Galaxy Groups in the SL2S

Astronomy and Astrophysics (Impact Factor: 4.38). 12/2008; 502(2). DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/200811473
Source: arXiv


The existence of strong lensing systems with Einstein radii (Re) covering the full mass spectrum, from ~1-2" (produced by galaxy scale dark matter haloes) to >10" (produced by galaxy cluster scale haloes) have long been predicted. Many lenses with Re around 1-2" and above 10" have been reported but very few in between. In this article, we present a sample of 13 strong lensing systems with Re in the range 3"- 8", i.e. systems produced by galaxy group scale dark matter haloes, spanning a redshift range from 0.3 to 0.8. This opens a new window of exploration in the mass spectrum, around 10^{13}- 10^{14} M_{sun}, which is a crucial range for understanding the transition between galaxies and galaxy clusters. Our analysis is based on multi-colour CFHTLS images complemented with HST imaging and ground based spectroscopy. Large scale properties are derived from both the light distribution of the elliptical galaxies group members and weak lensing of the faint background galaxy population. On small scales, the strong lensing analysis yields Einstein radii between 2.5" and 8". On larger scales, the strong lenses coincide with the peak of the light distribution, suggesting that mass is traced by light. Most of the luminosity maps have complicated shapes, indicating that these intermediate mass structures are dynamically young. Fitting the reduced shear with a Singular Isothermal Sphere, we find sigma ~ 500 km/s and an upper limit of ~900 km/s for the whole sample. The mass to light ratio for the sample is found to be M/L_i ~ 250 (solar units, corrected for evolution), with an upper limit of 500. This can be compared to mass to light ratios of small groups (with sigma ~ 300 km/s and galaxy clusters with sigma > 1000 km/s, thus bridging the gap between these mass scales. Comment: A&A Accepted. Draft with Appendix images can be found at

Download full-text


Available from: Roser Pelló,
22 Reads
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Precise modelling of strong lensing systems can be affected by external mass distributions, e.g. the group or cluster within which the lens is embedded. In this article, we propose to turn this limitation to our advantage and to use precise strong lensing modelling to probe external mass distributions surrounding the lens. We consider SL2S J08544-0121, a galaxy group at z=0.35 that contains a strong lensing system. A simple elliptical isothermal potential cannot reproduce satisfactorily the strong lensing constraints. We include an external mass perturbation corresponding to the group within which the lens is embedded. The lensing properties of this perturbation are parametrised by its total mass M and a smoothing scale s that quantifies the characteristic scale over which M is distributed. For a range of these parameters, we are able to reproduce accurately the observations. This suggests that light is a good tracer of mass. Interestingly, this also shows that a localised strong lensing analysis (on scales of ~10") allows us to constrain global properties of the group as a whole (on scales of ~100). Indeed, we constrain the group mass-to-light ratio to be M/L=98+-27 (i band, solar units, not corrected for evolution) and s=20" +- 9 (2sigma confidence level). We demonstrate that these strong lensing only constraints are due to the perturbed strong lensing configuration, where the main arc is located at ~5" from the galaxy, whereas its counter-image is found at ~8". To test independently our resulting strong lensing model, we pursue an independent weak lensing analysis of the group and find a mass-to-light ratio in the range 66-146 (1sigma confidence level). Comment: accepted for publication in AandA
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The gravitational lens system CLASS B2108+213 has two radio-loud lensed images separated by 4.56 arcsec. The relatively large image separation implies that the lensing is caused by a group of galaxies. In this paper, new optical imaging and spectroscopic data for the lensing galaxies of B2108+213 and the surrounding field galaxies are presented. These data are used to investigate the mass and composition of the lensing structure. The redshift and stellar velocity dispersion of the main lensing galaxy (G1) are found to be z = 0.3648 +/- 0.0002 and sigma_v = 325 +/- 25 km/s, respectively. The optical spectrum of the lensed quasar shows no obvious emission or absorption features and is consistent with a BL Lac type radio source. However, the tentative detection of the G-band and Mg-b absorption lines, and a break in the spectrum of the host galaxy of the lensed quasar gives a likely source redshift of z = 0.67. Spectroscopy of the field around B2108+213 finds 51 galaxies at a similar redshift to G1, thus confirming that there is a much larger structure at z ~ 0.365 associated with this system. The width of the group velocity distribution is 694 +/- 93 km/s, but is non-Gaussian, implying that the structure is not yet viralized. The main lensing galaxy is also the brightest group member and has a surface brightness profile consistent with a typical cD galaxy. A lensing and dynamics analysis of the mass distribution, which also includes the newly found group members, finds that the logarithmic slope of the mass density profile is on average isothermal inside the Einstein radius, but steeper at the location of the Einstein radius. This apparent change in slope can be accounted for if an external convergence gradient, representing the underlying parent halo of the galaxy group, is included in the mass model. Comment: 18 pages, 14 figures, 5 tables, accepted for publication in MNRAS
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 10/2009; 404(2). DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2010.16334.x · 5.11 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We have developed a new method, K2, optimized for the detection of galaxy clusters in multicolor images. Based on the Red Sequence approach, K2 detects clusters using simultaneous enhancements in both colors and position. The detection significance is robustly determined through extensive Monte Carlo simulations and through comparison with available cluster catalogs based on two different optical methods, and also on X-ray data. K2 also provides quantitative estimates of the candidate clusters' richness and photometric redshifts. Initially, K2 was applied to the two color (gri) 161 deg2 images of the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Legacy Survey Wide (CFHTLS-W) data. Our simulations show that the false detection rate for these data, at our selected threshold, is only ~1%, and that the cluster catalogs are ~80% complete up to a redshift of z = 0.6 for Fornax-like and richer clusters and to z ~ 0.3 for poorer clusters. Based on the g-, r-, and i-band photometric catalogs of the Terapix T05 release, 35 clusters/deg2 are detected, with 1-2 Fornax-like or richer clusters every 2 deg2. Catalogs containing data for 6144 galaxy clusters have been prepared, of which 239 are rich clusters. These clusters, especially the latter, are being searched for gravitational lenses—one of our chief motivations for cluster detection in CFHTLS. The K2 method can be easily extended to use additional color information and thus improve overall cluster detection to higher redshifts. The complete set of K2 cluster catalogs, along with the supplementary catalogs for the member galaxies, are available on request from the authors.
    The Astrophysical Journal 11/2009; 706(1):571. DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/706/1/571 · 5.99 Impact Factor
Show more