Strong Gravitational Lensing At High Spectral Resolution


Gravitational lensing occurs when light from a distant galaxy is bent by gravity from another galaxy along the line of sight. The light is stretched over a larger area on the sky, making the background galaxy appear brighter but distorting its shape. A traditional way to study the background galaxies and foreground lenses is to apply theoretical models to observations with high angular resolution. The goal of this project is to apply new theoretical models to observations with high resolution, like those made by radio telescopes. The PI (a theorist) and Co-PI (an observer) will work with Rutgers graduate and undergraduate students to achieve this goal. The project will support prior U.S. investments in large arrays of radio telescopes and improve the understanding of dark matter, black holes, and galaxy evolution. The project will also train students in research, including rising sophomores from disadvantaged backgrounds.This project will introduce a new way to model data from NSF's Very Large Array, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, and similar facilities. The new method will be implemented in the PI's public lensmodel software package. It will be applied to both compact and extended lenses in two types of distant galaxies. With lensed quasar host galaxies the project will examine the evolution of black hole scaling relations. With lensed dusty star-forming galaxies the project will examine an extreme mode of star formation. The resulting models will be used to characterize lens-plane substructure and test the cold dark matter structure formation paradigm. In addition to training graduate students, the PI and Co-PI will introduce undergraduate students to research through a new seminar course for first-year Educational Opportunity Fund students at Rutgers. This class will combine professional development, biographical material on scientists and engineers from diverse backgrounds, and hands-on research activities.
Effective start/end date9/1/178/31/20


  • National Science Foundation (NSF)


spectral resolution
high resolution
radio telescopes
dark matter
Very Large Array (VLA)
angular resolution
line of sight
star formation
computer programs