Gravitational lenses are a powerful tool for Astrophysics and Cosmology. The goals of this project are: i) to obtain a robust determination of the Hubble constant from the time delay measured between the images of a lensed quasar; ii) to study the individual and statistical properties of dark matter condensations in lens galaxies from microlensing on the images of lensed quasars; iii) to study the unresolved structure of quasars (broad and narrow emission line and continuum emission regions) from induced variations by microlensing in the photometry of the lensed quasar images as well as in the profile of their emission lines; iv) to study the variation of dust extinction properties with redshift from the determination of extinction curves in lens galaxies; (v) to develop new numerical and statistical methods to study microlensing and (vi) to detect exoplanets through gravitational microlensing.
Members of the project
Highlights and results
- We have introduced a new method to measure the masses of the supermassive black holes of the quasars based on the gravitational redshift of the ultraviolet lines of the iron (UV Fe III). The calculated masses are in agreement with the estimates obtained using the virial theorem.
A Robust Determination of the Size of Quasar Accretion Disks Using Gravitational Microlensing
Using microlensing measurements for a sample of 27 image pairs of 19 lensed quasars we determine a maximum likelihood estimate for the accretion disk size of an average quasar of rs = 4.0+2.4 - 3.1 lt-day at rest frame langλrang = 1736 Å for microlenses with a mean mass of langMrang = 0.3 M &sun;. This value, in good agreement with previous resultsJiménez-Vicente, J. et al.
The quasar MBH-Mhost relation through cosmic time - II. Evidence for evolution from z = 3 to the present age
We study the dependence of the relation on the redshift up to z = 3 for a sample of 96 quasars, the host galaxy luminosities of which are known. Black hole masses were estimated assuming virial equilibrium in the broad-line regions, while the host galaxy masses were inferred from their luminosities. With these data, we are able to pin down theDecarli, R. et al.
The extent of the Mg II absorbing circumgalactic medium of quasars
We investigate the extent and the properties of the Mg II cool, low-density absorbing gas located in the halo and in the circumgalactic environment of quasars, using a sample of 31 projected quasar pairs with impact parameter pd 0.3 Å ranges from fC ˜ 1.0 at pd ≲ 65 kpc to fC ˜ 0.2 at pd ≳ 150 kpc, and appears to be higher than that for galaxiesFarina, E. P. et al.