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Near-IR search for lensed supernovae behind galaxy clusters. II. First detection and future prospects
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physics.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physics.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physics.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physics.
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2009 (English)In: Astronomy and Astrophysics, ISSN 0004-6361, E-ISSN 1432-0746, Vol. 507, no 1, 71-83 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Aims: Powerful gravitational telescopes in the form of massive galaxy clusters can be used to enhance the light collecting power over a limited field of view by about an order of magnitude in flux. This effect is exploited here to increase the depth of a survey for lensed supernovae at near-IR wavelengths.

Methods: We present a pilot supernova search programme conducted with the ISAAC camera at VLT. Lensed galaxies behind the massive clusters A1689, A1835, and AC114 were observed for a total of 20 h divided into 2, 3, and 4 epochs respectively, separated by approximately one month to a limiting magnitude J ≲ 24 (Vega). Image subtractions including another 20 h worth of archival ISAAC/VLT data were used to search for transients with lightcurve properties consistent with redshifted supernovae, both in the new and reference data.

Results: The feasibility of finding lensed supernovae in our survey was investigated using synthetic lightcurves of supernovae and several models of the volumetric type Ia and core-collapse supernova rates as a function of redshift. We also estimate the number of supernova discoveries expected from the inferred star-formation rate in the observed galaxies. The methods consistently predict a Poisson mean value for the expected number of supernovae in the survey of between N_SN = 0.8 and 1.6 for all supernova types, evenly distributed between core collapse and type Ia supernovae. One transient object was found behind A1689, 0.5 arcsec from a galaxy with photometric redshift z_gal = 0.6 ± 0.15. The lightcurve and colors of the transient are consistent with being a reddened type IIP supernova at z_SN = 0.59. The lensing model predicts 1.4 mag of magnification at the location of the transient, without which this object would not have been detected in the near-IR ground-based search described in this paper (unlensed magnitude J ~ 25). We perform a feasibility study of the potential for lensed supernovae discoveries with larger and deeper surveys and conclude that the use of gravitational telescopes is a very exciting path for new discoveries. For example, a monthly rolling supernova search of a single very massive cluster with the HAWK-I camera at VLT would yield ≳ 10 lensed supernova lightcurves per year, where type Ia supernovae would constitute about half of the expected sample. Based on observations made with ESO telescopes at the La Silla Paranal Observatory under programme ID 079.A-0192 and ID 081.A-0734.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 507, no 1, 71-83 p.
Keyword [en]
cosmology: observations -- stars: supernovae: general -- galaxies: clusters: general -- gravitational lensing
National Category
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-35756DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/200811254ISI: 000271782900013ISBN: 0004-6361 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-35756DiVA: diva2:287970
Available from: 2010-01-20 Created: 2010-01-20 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Investigating the Dark Universe through Gravitational Lensing
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Investigating the Dark Universe through Gravitational Lensing
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

A variety of precision observations suggest that the present universe is dominated by some unknown components, the so-called dark matter and dark energy. The distribution and properties of these components are the focus of modern cosmology and we are only beginning to understand them.

Gravitational lensing, the bending of light in the gravitational field of a massive object, is one of the predictions of the general theory of relativity. It has become an ever more important tool for investigating the dark universe, especially with recent and coming advances in observational data.

This thesis studies gravitational lensing effects on scales ranging over ten orders of magnitude to probe very different aspects of the dark universe. Implementing a matter distribution following the predictions of recent simulations, we show that microlensing by a large population of massive compact halo objects (MACHOs) is unlikely to be the source of the observed long-term variability in quasars. We study the feasibility of detecting the so far elusive galactic dark matter substructures, the so-called “missing satellites”, via millilensing in galaxies close to the line-of-sight to distant light sources. Finally, we utilise massive galaxy clusters, some of the largest structures known in the universe, as gravitational telescopes in order to detect distant supernovae, thereby gaining insight into the expansion history of the universe. We also show, how such observations can be used to put constraints on the dark matter component of these galaxy clusters.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Astronomy, Stockholm University, 2011. 67 p.
Keyword
cosmology, gravitational lensing, dark matter, galaxies, galaxy clusters
National Category
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
Research subject
Astronomy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-56515 (URN)978-91-7447-281-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-06-01, lecture room FD5, AlbaNova universitetscentrum, Roslagstullsbacken 21, Stockholm, 13:15 (English)
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Supervisors
Note
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 6: Submitted. Available from: 2011-05-10 Created: 2011-04-19 Last updated: 2011-05-16Bibliographically approved

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