Volume 633, January 2020
|Number of page(s)||14|
|Section||Cosmology (including clusters of galaxies)|
|Published online||20 January 2020|
The signature of primordial black holes in the dark matter halos of galaxies
Institute for Astronomy (IfA), University of Edinburgh, Royal Observatory, Blackford Hill, Edinburgh EH9 3HJ, UK
Accepted: 17 October 2019
Aims. The aim of this paper is to investigate the claim that stars in the lensing galaxy of a gravitationally lensed quasar system can always account for the observed microlensing of the individual quasar images.
Methods. A small sample of gravitationally lensed quasar systems was chosen where the quasar images appear to lie on the fringe of the stellar distribution of the lensing galaxy. As with most quasar systems, all the individual quasar images were observed to be microlensed. The surface brightness of the lensing galaxy at the positions of the quasar images was measured from Hubble Space Telescope frames, and converted to stellar surface mass density. The surface density of smoothly distributed dark matter at the image positions was obtained from lensing models of the quasar systems and applied to the stellar surface mass density to give the optical depth to microlensing. This was then used to assess the probability that the stars in the lensing galaxy could be responsible for the observed microlensing. The results were supported by microlensing simulations of the star fields around the quasar images combined with values of convergence and shear from the lensing models.
Results. Taken together, the probability that all the observed microlensing is due to stars was found to be ∼3 × 10−4. Errors resulting from the surface brightness measurement, the mass-to-light ratio, and the contribution of the dark matter halo do not significantly affect this result.
Conclusions. It is argued that the most plausible candidates for the microlenses are primordial black holes, either in the dark matter halos of the lensing galaxies, or more generally distributed along the lines of sight to the quasars.
Key words: dark matter / gravitational lensing: micro / galaxies: halos
© ESO 2020
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