A very bright, highly magnified Lyman break galaxy at z = 3.07

Ian Smail, A. M. Swinbank, J. Richard, H. Ebeling, J. P. Kneib, A. C. Edge, D. Stark, R. S. Ellis, S. Dye, G. P. Smith, C. Mullis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Using Hubble Space Telescope imaging and Keck spectroscopy, we report the discovery of a very bright, highly magnified (∼30 times) Lyman break galaxy (LBG) at z = 3.07 in the field of the massive z = 0.33 cluster MACS J2135.2-0102. The system comprises two high surface brightness arcs with a maximum extent of 3″, bracketing a central object that we identify as a massive early-type galaxy at z = 0.73. We construct a lens model that reproduces the main features of the system using a combination of a galaxy-scale lens and the foreground cluster. We show that the morphological, spectral, and photometric properties of the arcs are consistent with them arising from the lensing of a single ∼L*V LBG. The most important feature of this system is that the lensing magnification results in an apparent magnitude of r = 20.3, making this one of the brightest LBGs known. Such a high magnification provides the opportunity of obtaining very high signal-to-noise ratio (and potentially spatially resolved) spectroscopy of a high-redshift galaxy to study its physical properties. We present initial imaging and spectroscopy demonstrating the basic properties of the system and discuss the opportunities for future observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L33-L36
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 II
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007


  • Cosmology: observations
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: formation
  • Galaxies: individual (LBG J213512.73-010143)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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