A comparison of cosmological models using time delay lenses

Jun Jie Wei, Xue Feng Wu, Fulvio Melia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The use of time-delay gravitational lenses to examine the cosmological expansion introduces a new standard ruler with which to test theoretical models. The sample suitable for this kind of work now includes 12 lens systems, which have thus far been used solely for optimizing the parameters of ΛCDM. In this paper, we broaden the base of support for this new, important cosmic probe by using these observations to carry out a one-on-one comparison between competing models. The currently available sample indicates a likelihood of ∼70%-80% that the R h = ct universe is the correct cosmology versus ∼20%-30% for the standard model. This possibly interesting result reinforces the need to greatly expand the sample of time-delay lenses, e.g., with the successful implementation of the Dark Energy Survey, the VST ATLAS survey, and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. In anticipation of a greatly expanded catalog of time-delay lenses identified with these surveys, we have produced synthetic samples to estimate how large they would have to be in order to rule out either model at a ∼99.7% confidence level. We find that if the real cosmology is ΛCDM, a sample of ∼150 time-delay lenses would be sufficient to rule out R h = ct at this level of accuracy, while ∼1000 time-delay lenses would be required to rule out ΛCDM if the real universe is instead R h = ct. This difference in required sample size reflects the greater number of free parameters available to fit the data with ΛCDM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number190
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 20 2014


  • cosmology: observations
  • cosmology: theory
  • galaxies: halos
  • galaxies: structure
  • gravitational lensing: strong
  • quasars: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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