Mapping compound cosmic telescopes containing multiple projected cluster-scale halos

S. Mark Ammons, Kenneth C. Wong, Ann I. Zabludoff, Charles R. Keeton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Lines of sight with multiple projected cluster-scale gravitational lenses have high total masses and complex lens plane interactions that can boost the area of magnification, or étendue, making detection of faint background sources more likely than elsewhere. To identify these new "compound" cosmic telescopes, we have found directions in the sky with the highest integrated mass densities, as traced by the projected concentrations of luminous red galaxies (LRGs). We use new galaxy spectroscopy to derive preliminary magnification maps for two such lines of sight with total mass exceeding ∼3 × 1015 M. From 1151 MMT Hectospec spectra of galaxies down to i AB = 21.2, we identify two to three group-and cluster-scale halos in each beam. These are well traced by LRGs. The majority of the mass in beam J085007.6+360428 (0850) is contributed by Zwicky 1953, a massive cluster at z = 0.3774, whereas beam J130657.5+463219 (1306) is composed of three halos with virial masses of 6 × 1014-2 × 1015 M, one of which is A1682. The magnification maps derived from our mass models based on spectroscopy and Sloan Digital Sky Survey photometry alone display substantial étendue: the 68% confidence bands on the lens plane area with magnification exceeding 10 for a source plane of z s = 10 are [1.2, 3.8] arcmin2 for 0850 and [2.3, 6.7] arcmin2 for 1306. In deep Subaru Suprime-Cam imaging of beam 0850, we serendipitously discover a candidate multiply imaged V-dropout source at z phot = 5.03. The location of the candidate multiply imaged arcs is consistent with the critical curves for a source plane of z = 5.03 predicted by our mass model. Incorporating the position of the candidate multiply imaged galaxy as a constraint on the critical curve location in 0850 narrows the 68% confidence band on the lens plane area with μ > 10 and z s = 10 to [1.8, 4.2] arcmin2, an étendue range comparable to that of MACS 0717+3745 and El Gordo, two of the most powerful single cluster lenses known. The significant lensing power of our beams makes them powerful probes of reionization and galaxy formation in the early universe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 20 2014


  • galaxies: clusters: general
  • galaxies: high-redshift
  • galaxies: kinematics and dynamics
  • gravitational lensing: strong
  • techniques: radial velocities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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