Volume 601, May 2017
|Number of page(s)||13|
|Section||Cosmology (including clusters of galaxies)|
|Published online||08 May 2017|
Ambiguities in gravitational lens models: the density field from the source position transformation
1 Argelander-Institut für Astronomie, Universität Bonn, Auf dem Hügel 71, 53121 Bonn, Germany
e-mail: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
2 STAR Institute, Quartier Agora, Allée du six Août, 19c, University of Liège, 4000 Liège, Belgium
Received: 3 June 2016
Accepted: 24 February 2017
Strong gravitational lensing is regarded as the most precise technique to measure the mass in the inner region of galaxies or galaxy clusters. In particular, the mass within one Einstein radius can be determined with an accuracy of the order of a few percent or better, depending on the image configuration. For other radii, however, degeneracies exist between galaxy density profiles, precluding an accurate determination of the enclosed mass. The source position transformation (SPT), which includes the well-known mass-sheet transformation (MST) as a special case, describes this degeneracy of the lensing observables in a more general way. In this paper we explore properties of an SPT, removing the MST to leading order, that is we consider degeneracies which have not been described before. The deflection field resulting from an SPT is not curl-free in general, and thus not a deflection that can be obtained from a lensing mass distribution. Starting from a variational principle, we construct lensing potentials that give rise to a deflection field , which differs from by less than an observationally motivated upper limit. The corresponding mass distributions from these “valid” SPTs are studied: their radial profiles are modified relative to the original mass distribution in a significant and non-trivial way, and originally axi-symmetric mass distributions can obtain a finite ellipticity. These results indicate a significant effect of the SPT on quantitative analyses of lens systems. We show that the mass inside the Einstein radius of the original mass distribution is conserved by the SPT; hence, as is the case for the MST, the SPT does not affect the mass determination at the Einstein radius. Furthermore, we analyse a degeneracy between two lens models, empirically found previously, and show that this degeneracy can be interpreted as being due to an SPT. Thus, degeneracies between lensing mass distributions are not just a theoretical possibility, but do arise in actual lens modeling.
Key words: cosmological parameters / gravitational lensing: strong
© ESO, 2017
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