Q 1208 + 1011 - The most distant imaged quasar, or a binary?

Astronomy and Astrophysics – Astrophysics

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Binary Stars, Gravitational Lenses, Quasars, Imaging Spectrometers, Stellar Gravitation

Scientific paper

The paper reports the discovery of a new gravitational lens candidate: the high redshift (z = 3.803) and highly luminous (V = 17.5, MV = -30.3) quasar Q 1208 + 1011. As derived from the analysis of direct CCD frames taken with the ESO/MPI 2.2 m telescope, this multiple quasar consists of two pointlike images, separated by 0.45 arcsec and characterized by a brightness ratio of 3.5, in red light. Existing spectroscopic data support the gravitational lens interpretation for this system but cannot exclude the hypothesis of a binary quasar. In the former case, the spectrum suggests that, if the metallic absorption line system reported by Steidel (1990) at a redshift z = 2.9157 is associated with the deflector, the mass of the lens should be of the order of M = 7.8 x 10 exp 11 solar masses. Evaluation of a recent HST PC frame obtained for Q 1208 + 1011 within the snapshot survey for gravitational lenses confirms the above results.

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