HST imaging of four gravitationally lensed quasars

10 Jul 2018  ·  Nicholas F. Bate, Georgios Vernardos, Matthew J. O'Dowd, Daniel M. Neri-Larios, Rachel L. Webster, David J. E. Floyd, Robert L. Barone-Nugent, Kathleen Labrie, Anthea L. King, Suk Yee Yong ·

We present new HST WFPC3 imaging of four gravitationally lensed quasars: MG 0414+0534; RXJ 0911+0551; B 1422+231; WFI J2026-4536. In three of these systems we detect wavelength-dependent microlensing, which we use to place constraints on the sizes and temperature profiles of the accretion discs in each quasar... Accretion disc radius is assumed to vary with wavelength according to the power-law relationship $r\propto \lambda^p$, equivalent to a radial temperature profile of $T\propto r^{-1/p}$. The goal of this work is to search for deviations from standard thin disc theory, which predicts that radius goes as wavelength to the power $p=4/3$. We find a wide range of power-law indices, from $p=1.4^{+0.5}_{-0.4}$ in B 1422+231 to $p=2.3^{+0.5}_{-0.4}$ in WFI J2026-4536. The measured value of $p$ appears to correlate with the strength of the wavelength-dependent microlensing. We explore this issue with mock simulations using a fixed accretion disc with $p=1.5$, and find that cases where wavelength-dependent microlensing is small tend to under-estimate the value of $p$. This casts doubt on previous ensemble single-epoch measurements which have favoured low values using samples of lensed quasars that display only moderate chromatic effects. Using only our systems with strong chromatic microlensing we prefer $p>4/3$, corresponding to shallower temperature profiles than expected from standard thin disc theory. read more

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Astrophysics of Galaxies