Relativistic and Theoretical Astrophysics

Start year
Organizational Unit


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.

Principal investigator
  1. 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.

Publications related

  • A Study of Gravitational Lens Chromaticity with the Hubble Space Telescope

    We report Hubble Space Telescope observations of six gravitational lenses with the Advanced Camera for Surveys. We measured the flux ratios between the lensed images in seven filters from 8140 Å to 2200 Å. In three of the systems, HE0512-3329, B1600+434, and H1413+117, we were able to construct UV extinction curves partially overlapping the 2175 Å

    Muñoz, J. A. et al.

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  • The quasar MBH-Mhost relation through cosmic time - I. Data set and black hole masses

    We study the relation as a function of cosmic time in a sample of 96 quasars from z = 3 to the present epoch. In this paper, we describe the sample, the data sources and the new spectroscopic observations. We then illustrate how we derive from single-epoch spectra, pointing out the uncertainties in the procedure. In a companion paper, we address

    Decarli, R. et al.

    Advertised on:

  • UV surface brightness of galaxies from the local universe to z ~ 5

    The Tolman test for surface brightness (SB) dimming was originally proposed as a test for the expansion of the universe. The test, which is independent of the details of the assumed cosmology, is based on comparisons of the SB of identical objects at different cosmological distances. Claims have been made that the Tolman test provides compelling

    Lerner, E. J. et al.

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