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Quasar microlensing at high magnification and the role of dark matter : enhanced fluctuations and suppressed saddle points

  • Contrary to naive expectation, diluting the stellar component of the lensing galaxy in a highly magnified system with smoothly distributed ``dark'' matter increases rather than decreases the microlensing fluctuations caused by the remaining stars. For a bright pair of images straddling a critical curve, the saddle point (of the arrival time surface) is much more strongly affected than the associated minimum. With a mass ratio of smooth matter to microlensing matter of 4:1, a saddle point with a macromagnification of ;=9.5 will spend half of its time more than a magnitude fainter than predicted. The anomalous flux ratio observed for the close pair of images in MG 0414+0534 is a factor of 5 more likely than computed by Witt, Mao, & Schechter, if the smooth matter fraction is as high as 93%. The magnification probability histograms for macroimages exhibit a distinctly different structure that varies with the smooth matter content, providing a handle on the smooth matter fraction. Enhanced fluctuations can manifest themselves either inContrary to naive expectation, diluting the stellar component of the lensing galaxy in a highly magnified system with smoothly distributed ``dark'' matter increases rather than decreases the microlensing fluctuations caused by the remaining stars. For a bright pair of images straddling a critical curve, the saddle point (of the arrival time surface) is much more strongly affected than the associated minimum. With a mass ratio of smooth matter to microlensing matter of 4:1, a saddle point with a macromagnification of ;=9.5 will spend half of its time more than a magnitude fainter than predicted. The anomalous flux ratio observed for the close pair of images in MG 0414+0534 is a factor of 5 more likely than computed by Witt, Mao, & Schechter, if the smooth matter fraction is as high as 93%. The magnification probability histograms for macroimages exhibit a distinctly different structure that varies with the smooth matter content, providing a handle on the smooth matter fraction. Enhanced fluctuations can manifest themselves either in the temporal variations of a light curve or as flux ratio anomalies in a single epoch snapshot of a multiply imaged system. While the millilensing simulations of Metcalf & Madau also give larger anomalies for saddle points than for minima, the effect appears to be less dramatic for extended subhalos than for point masses. Moreover, microlensing is distinguishable from millilensing because it will produce noticeable changes in the magnification on a timescale of a decade or less.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:P. L. Schechter, Joachim Wambsganß
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2002
Year of Completion:2002
Release Date:2017/03/24
Source:The Astrophysical Journal. - 580 (2002), 2, S. 685 - 695
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Physik und Astronomie
Institution name at the time of publication:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Physik