EDP Sciences
Free access
Issue
A&A
Volume 378, Number 2, November I 2001
Page(s) 394 - 407
Section Extragalactic astronomy
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20011216


A&A 378, 394-407 (2001)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20011216

VLT spectroscopy of galaxies lensed by the AC 114 cluster:

Implications for the mass model and the study of low-luminosity galaxies at high-redshift
L. E. Campusano1, R. Pelló2, J.-P. Kneib2, J.-F. Le Borgne2, B. Fort3, R. Ellis4, Y. Mellier3, 5 and I. Smail6

1  Observatorio Astronómico Cerro Calán, Departamento de Astronomía, U. de Chile, Casilla 36-D, Santiago, Chile
2  Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées, UMR 5572, 14 avenue E. Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France
3  Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, 98 bis boulevard Arago, 75014 Paris, France
4  Astronomy 105-24, Caltech, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
5  Observatoire de Paris, DEMIRM, 61 avenue de l'Observatoire, 75014 Paris, France
6  Department of Physics, University of Durham, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE, UK

(Received 24 April 2001 / Accepted 14 August 2001 )

Abstract
We present the first results of a spectroscopic survey of faint lensed galaxies in the core of the galaxy cluster AC 114 (z=0.312) obtained from observations with the FORS1 spectrograph mounted on the VLT-Antu (Unit Telescope 1). The galaxies were chosen according to both lensing and photometric redshift criteria in areas close to the high-z critical lines predicted by the gravitational lens model of Natarajan et al. (NKSE, 1998) for this cluster. All the target galaxies are found to correspond to background galaxies with redshift values in the [0.7, 3.5] interval. Our spectroscopic observations confirm the predicted lensing redshifts for 3 of the multiply-imaged galaxies, and together with predictions of the NKSE model led to the discovery of a new 5-image configuration at redshift z=3.347. A revised NKS model, compatible with the redshift of this new multiple-image system, was generated and employed to calculate the gravitational amplifications of all the observed galaxies. The galaxies corresponding to the multiple-image systems are found to be intrinsically fainter, between 0.5 and 1.5 magnitudes, than the limiting magnitudes of existing blank field studies. When all the observed background galaxies are considered, the resulting intrinsic absolute magnitudes range from $M_B \sim-22$ to -19, with a median value of -20.5. Therefore, a large gain in sensitivity towards low luminosity high-z objects can actually be obtained, in agreement with theoretical expectations. This method can be used advantageously to probe the high redshift Universe and, in particular, its application to an ensemble of massive cluster cores could constraint the faint end of luminosity function of high redshift galaxies.


Key words: cosmology: observations -- galaxies: clusters: individual (AC 114) -- galaxies: fundamental parameters -- gravitational lensing -- galaxies: redshifts -- general

Offprint request: L. Campusano, lcampusa@das.uchile.cl

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© ESO 2001