References of "Claeskens, Jean-François"
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See detailA search for X-ray sources around WR 22 in the Carina region
Claeskens, Jean-François ULg; Gosset, Eric ULg; Nazé, Yaël ULg et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2011), 525

We present the results of a deep search for X-ray sources in a circular field of 30' in diameter situated around WR 22 in the Carina region and observed with the XMM-Newton observatory. This field is ... [more ▼]

We present the results of a deep search for X-ray sources in a circular field of 30' in diameter situated around WR 22 in the Carina region and observed with the XMM-Newton observatory. This field is broadly located to the west of the main part of the Carina nebula. On the basis of six pointings (nominal exposure time: 10 ks each) centred on the WR+O binary star WR 22, we perform a survey with an effective exposure time of 68.8 ks. We introduce a catalogue of 43 bona-fide X-ray point sources, most of which were unknown before the XMM-Newton observations, and perform the first steps towards their identifications by cross-correlating the positions with optical/infrared catalogues. We investigated the possible variability of these sources in the X-ray domain and we extracted a few X-ray spectra for the brightest ones. A short description of the diffuse X-ray emission present in the region is also given. Based on observations with XMM-Newton, an ESA Science Mission with instruments and contributions directly funded by ESA Member States and the USA (NASA). [less ▲]

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See detailGravitational Lensing, Dark Matter and the Optical Gravitational Lens Experiment
Surdej, Jean ULg; Claeskens, Jean-François ULg; Delacroix, Christian ULg et al

in Matagne, N.; Cugnon, Joseph; Lansberg, Jean-Philippe (Eds.) American Institute of Physics Conference Proc. Volume 1038 (2008, August 01)

After briefly reviewing the history of gravitational lensing, we recall the basic principles of the theory. We then describe and use a simple optical gravitational lens experiment which has the virtue of ... [more ▼]

After briefly reviewing the history of gravitational lensing, we recall the basic principles of the theory. We then describe and use a simple optical gravitational lens experiment which has the virtue of accounting for all types of image configurations observed so far among the presently known gravitational lens systems. Finally, we briefly present the 4m International Liquid Mirror Telescope project in the context of a photometric monitoring of multiply imaged quasars. [less ▲]

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See detailScience case for 1 mas spectro-imagining in the near-infrared
Garcia, Paulo J V; Berger, Jean-Phillipe; Marconi, Alessandro et al

in Schöller, Markus; Danchi, William; Delplancke, Françoise (Eds.) Optical and Infrared Interferometry (2008, July 01)

We present the work developed within the science team of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer Spectro-Imager (VSI) during the Phase A studies. VSI aims at delivering ~ 1 milliarcsecond resolution data ... [more ▼]

We present the work developed within the science team of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer Spectro-Imager (VSI) during the Phase A studies. VSI aims at delivering ~ 1 milliarcsecond resolution data cubes in the near-infrared, with several spectral resolutions up to 12 000, by combining up to 8 VLTI telescopes. In the design of an instrument, the science case plays a central role by supporting the instrument construction decision, defining the top-level requirements and balancing design options. The overall science philosophy of VSI was that of a general user instrument serving a broad community. The science team addressed themes which included several areas of astrophysics and illustrated specific modes of operation of the instrument: a) YSO disks and winds; b) Multiplicity of young stars; c) Exoplanets; d) Debris disks; e) Stellar surface imaging; f) The environments of evolved stars; g) AGN tori; h) AGN's Broad Line Region; i) Supermassive black-holes; and j) Microlensing. The main conclusions can be summarized as follows: a) The accessible targets and related science are extremely sensitive to the instrument limiting magnitude; the instrument should be optimized for sensitivity and have its own fringe tracker. b) Most of the science cases are readily achievable with on-axis fringe tracking, off-axis fringe tracking enabling extra science. c) In most targets (YSOs, evolved stars and AGNs), the interpretation and analysis of circumstellar/nuclear dust morphology requires direct access to the gas via spectral resolved studies of emission lines, requiring at least a spectral resolution of 2 500. d) To routinely deliver images at the required sensitivity, the number of telescopes in determinant, with 6 telescopes being favored. e) The factorial increase in the number of closure phases and visibilities, gained in a single observation, makes massive surveys of parameters and related science for the first time possible. f) High dynamic range imaging and very high dynamic range differential closure phase are possible allowing the study of debris disks and characterization of pegasides. g) Spectro-imaging in the near-infrared is highly complementary to ALMA, adaptive optics and interferometric imaging in the thermal infrared. [less ▲]

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See detailHST observations of gravitationally lensed QSOs
Claeskens, Jean-François ULg; Sluse, Dominique; Surdej, Jean ULg

in proceedings of the 41st ESLAB Symposium "The Impact of HST on European Astronomy" (June 2007) (2008, June)

Thanks to its sharp view, HST has significantly improved our knowledge of tens of gravitationally lensed quasars in four different respects: (1) confirming their lensed nature; (2) detecting the lensing ... [more ▼]

Thanks to its sharp view, HST has significantly improved our knowledge of tens of gravitationally lensed quasars in four different respects: (1) confirming their lensed nature; (2) detecting the lensing galaxy responsible for the image splitting; (3) improving the astrometric accuracy on the positions of the unresolved QSO images and of the lens; (4) resolving extended lensed structures from the QSO hosts into faint NIR or optical rings or arcs. These observations have helped to break some degeneracies on the lens potential, to probe the galaxy evolution and to reconstruct the true shape of the QSO host with an increased angular resolution. [less ▲]

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See detailMicrolensing probes the AGN structure of the lensed quasar J1131-1231
Sluse, Dominique; Claeskens, Jean-François ULg; Hutsemekers, Damien ULg et al

in Benítez, E.; Cruz-González, I.; Krongold, Y. (Eds.) Revista Mexicana de Astronomia y Astrofisica (Serie de Conferencias) Vol. 32 (2008, April 01)

We present the analysis of single epoch long slit spectra of the three brightest images of the gravitationally lensed system J1131-1231. These spectra provide one of the clearest observational evidence ... [more ▼]

We present the analysis of single epoch long slit spectra of the three brightest images of the gravitationally lensed system J1131-1231. These spectra provide one of the clearest observational evidence for differential micro-lensing of broad emission lines (BELs) in a gravitationally lensed quasar. The micro-lensing effect enables us: (1) to confirm that the width of the emission lines is anti-correlated to the size of the emitting region; (2) to show that the bulk of Fe II is emitted in the outer parts of the Broad Line Region (BLR) while another fraction of Fe II is produced in a compact region; (3) to derive interesting informations on the origin of the narrow intrinsic Mg II absorption doublet observed in that system. [less ▲]

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See detailMicrolensing to probe the quasar structure: spectrophotometry of Q2237+0305 and of J1131-1231
Sluse, Dominique; Eigenbrod, A.; Courbin, F. et al

in Kerins, E.; Mao, S.; Rattenbury, N. (Eds.) et al Proceedings of the Manchester Microlensing Conference: The 12th International Conference and ANGLES Microlensing Workshop. Proceedings of Science, PoS (GMC8)020 (2008)

We present the main results of the first long-term spectrophotometric monitoring of the ``Einstein cross'' Q2237+0305 and of the single-epoch spectra of the lensed quasar J1131-1231. From October 2004 to ... [more ▼]

We present the main results of the first long-term spectrophotometric monitoring of the ``Einstein cross'' Q2237+0305 and of the single-epoch spectra of the lensed quasar J1131-1231. From October 2004 to December 2006, we find that two prominent microlensing events affect images A & B in Q2237+0305 while images C & D remain grossly unaffected by microlensing on a time scale of a few months. Microlensing in A & B goes with chromatic variations of the quasar continuum. We observe stronger micro-amplification in the blue than in the red part of the spectrum, as expected for continuum emission arising from a standard accretion disk. Microlensing induced variations of the CIII] emission are observed both in the integrated line intensity and profile. Finally, we also find that images C & D are about 0.1-0.3 mag redder than images A & B. The spectra of images A-B-C in J1131-1231 reveal that, in April 2003, microlensing was at work in images A and C. We find that microlensing de-amplifies the continuum emission and the Broad Line Region (BLR) in these images. Contrary to the case of Q2237+0305, we do not find evidence for chromatic microlensing of the continuum emission. On the other hand, we observe that the Balmer and MgII broad line profiles are deformed by microlensing. These deformations imply an anti-correlation between the width of the emission line and the size of the corresponding emitting region. Finally, the differential microlensing of the FeII emission suggests that the bulk of FeII is emitted in the outer parts of the BLR while another fraction of FeII is produced in a compact region. [less ▲]

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See detailMulti-wavelength study of the gravitational lens system RXS J1131-1231 - III. Long slit spectroscopy: micro-lensing probes the QSO structure
Sluse, Dominique; Claeskens, Jean-François ULg; Hutsemekers, Damien ULg et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2007), 468(3), 885-901

Aims. We discuss and characterize micro-lensing among the 3 brightest lensed images (A-B-C) of the gravitational lens system RXS J1131-1231 (a quadruply imaged AGN) by means of long slit optical and NIR ... [more ▼]

Aims. We discuss and characterize micro-lensing among the 3 brightest lensed images (A-B-C) of the gravitational lens system RXS J1131-1231 (a quadruply imaged AGN) by means of long slit optical and NIR spectroscopy. Qualitative constraints on the size of different emission regions are derived. We also perform a spectroscopic study of two field galaxies located within 1.6 arcmin radius from the lens. Methods. We decompose the spectra into their individual emission components using a multi-component fitting approach. A complementary decomposition of the spectra enables us to isolate the macro-lensed fraction of the spectra independently of any spectral modelling. Results. 1. The data support micro-lensing de-amplification of images A and C. Not only is the continuum emission microlensed in those images but also a fraction of the Broad Line emitting Region (BLR). 2. Micro-lensing of a very broad component of Mg II emission line suggests that the corresponding emission occurs in a region more compact than the other components of the emission line. 3. We find evidence that a large fraction of the Fe II emission arises in the outer parts of the BLR. We also find a very compact emitting region in the ranges 3080-3540 angstrom and 4630-4800 angstrom that is likely associated with Fe II. 4. The [O III] narrow emission line regions are partly spatially resolved. This enables us to put a lower limit of similar to 110h(-1) pc on their intrinsic size. 5. Analysis of Mg II absorption found in the spectra indicates that the absorbing medium is intrinsic to the quasar, has a covering factor of 20%, and is constituted of small clouds homogeneously distributed in front of the continuum and BLRs. 6. Two neighbour galaxies are detected at redshifts z = 0.10 and z = 0.289. These galaxies are possible members of galaxy groups reported at those redshifts. [less ▲]

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See detailThe 4m international liquid mirror telescope (ILMT)
Surdej, Jean ULg; Absil, Olivier ULg; Bartczak, Przemyslaw ULg et al

in Stepp, Larry (Ed.) Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes (2006, July 01)

The entire funding has recently been obtained in Belgium for the construction of a 4m Liquid Mirror Telescope. Its prime focus will be equipped with a semi-conventional glass corrector allowing to correct ... [more ▼]

The entire funding has recently been obtained in Belgium for the construction of a 4m Liquid Mirror Telescope. Its prime focus will be equipped with a semi-conventional glass corrector allowing to correct for the TDI effect and a thinned, high quantum efficiency, 4K × 4K pixel equivalent CCD camera. It will be capable of subarcsecond imaging in the i'(760 nm) and possibly r', g' band(s) over a field of ~ 30' in diameter. This facility will be entirely dedicated to a deep photometric and astrometric variability survey over a period of ~ 5 years. In this paper, the working principle of liquid mirror telescopes is first recalled, along with the advantages and disadvantages of the latter over classical telescopes. Several science cases are described. For a good access to one of the galactic poles, the best image quality sites for the ILMT are located either in Northern Chile (latitude near -29°30') or in North-East India (Nainital Hills, latitude near +29°30'). At those geographic latitudes, a deep (i' = 22.5 mag.) survey will approximately cover 90 square degrees at high galactic latitude, which is very useful for gravitational lensing studies as well as for the identification of various classes of interesting galactic and extragalactic objects (cf. microlensed stars, supernovae, clusters, etc.). A description of the telescope, its instrumentation and the handling of the data is also presented. [less ▲]

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See detailMulti wavelength study of the gravitational lens system RXS J1131-1231 - II. Lens model and source reconstruction
Claeskens, Jean-François ULg; Sluse, Dominique; Riaud, Pierre ULg et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2006), 451(3), 865-879

Aims. High angular resolution images of the complex gravitational lens system RXS J1131-1231 (a quadruply imaged AGN with a bright Einstein ring) obtained with the Advanced Camera for Surveys and NICMOS ... [more ▼]

Aims. High angular resolution images of the complex gravitational lens system RXS J1131-1231 (a quadruply imaged AGN with a bright Einstein ring) obtained with the Advanced Camera for Surveys and NICMOS instruments onboard the Hubble Space Telescope are analysed to determine the lens model and to reconstruct the host galaxy. Methods. The lens model is constrained by the relative astrometric positions of the lens and point-like images, and by the extended lensed structures. The non-parametric light distribution is recovered in the source plane by means of back ray-tracing. Results. 1-Precise astrometry and photometry of the four QSO lensed images (A-D) and of the lensing galaxy ( G) are obtained. They are found in agreement with an independent study presented in a companion paper. The position and colours of the X object seen in projection close to the lens are found to be only compatible with a satellite galaxy associated with the lens. 2- The Singular Isothermal Ellipsoid plus external shear provides a good fit of the astrometry of images A-D. The positions of extended substructures are also well reproduced. However an octupole ( m = 4) must be added to the lens potential in order to reproduce the observed lens position, as well as the I-B/I-C point-like image flux ratio. The ellipticity and orientation of the mass quadrupole are found similar to those of the light distribution, fitted by a Sersic profile. The lens (z = 0.295) is found to be a massive elliptical in a rich environment and showing possible evolution with respect to z = 0. 3- The host galaxy ( z = 0.658) is found to be a substantially magnified ( M similar to 9) luminous Seyfert 1 spiral galaxy. The angular resolution is sufficient to see regions where stars are intensively forming. Interaction with a closeby companion is also observed. 4- Finally, in the case of RXS J1131-1231, extended lensed structures do not help much in constraining the lens model. [less ▲]

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See detailIdentification and redshift determination of quasi-stellar objects with medium-band photometry: application to Gaia
Claeskens, Jean-François ULg; Smette, Alain; Vandenbulcke, Luc ULg et al

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2006), 367(3), 879-904

All-sky, multicolour, medium deep (V similar or equal to 20) surveys have the potentiality of detecting several hundred thousands of quasi-stellar objects (QSOs). Spectroscopic confirmation is not ... [more ▼]

All-sky, multicolour, medium deep (V similar or equal to 20) surveys have the potentiality of detecting several hundred thousands of quasi-stellar objects (QSOs). Spectroscopic confirmation is not possible for such a large number of objects, so that secure photometric identification and precise photometric determination of redshifts (and other spectral features) become mandatory. This is especially the case for the Gaia mission, in which QSOs play the crucial role of fixing the celestial referential frame, and in which more than 900 gravitationally lensed QSOs should be identified. We first built two independent libraries of synthetic QSO spectra reflecting the most important variations in the spectra of these objects. These libraries are publicly available for simulations with any instrument and photometric system. Traditional template fitting and artificial neural networks (ANNs) are compared to identify QSOs among the population of stars using broad- and medium-band photometry (BBP and MBP, respectively). Besides those two methods, a new one, based on the spectral principal components (SPCs), is also introduced to estimate the photometric redshifts. Generic trends as well as results specifically related to Gaia observations are given. We found that (i) ANNs can provide clean, uncontaminated QSO samples suitable for the determination of the reference frame, but with a level of completeness decreasing from similar or equal to 50 per cent at the Galactic pole at V= 18 to similar or equal to 16 per cent at V= 20; (ii) the chi(2) approach identifies about 90 per cent (60 per cent) of the observed QSOs at V= 18 (V= 20), at the expense of a higher stellar contamination rate, reaching similar or equal to 95 per cent in the galactic plane at V= 20. Extinction is a source of confusion and makes difficult the identification of QSOs in the galactic plane and (iii) the chi(2) method is better than ANNs to estimate the photometric redshifts. Due to colour degeneracies, the largest median absolute error (vertical bar Delta z vertical bar(Median)similar or equal to 0.2) is predicted in the range 0.5 < z(spec) < 2. The method based on the SPCs is promisingly good at recovering the redshift, in particular for V < 19 and z < 2.5 QSOs. For bright (V less than or similar to 18) QSOs, SPCs are also able to recover the spectral shape from the BBP and MBP data. [less ▲]

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See detailMulti-wavelength study of the gravitational lens system RXS J113155.4-123155. I. Multi-epoch optical and near infrared imaging
Sluse, Dominique; Claeskens, Jean-François ULg; Altieri, B. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2006), 449

Aims.RXS J113155.4-123155 (z=0.66) is a quadruply imaged lensed quasar with a resolved Einstein Ring. The goal of this paper is to provide a full characterization of this system, and more particularly ... [more ▼]

Aims.RXS J113155.4-123155 (z=0.66) is a quadruply imaged lensed quasar with a resolved Einstein Ring. The goal of this paper is to provide a full characterization of this system, and more particularly accurate astrometry and photometry. These observational constraints constitute a mandatory ingredient for the precise determination of the lens mass profile, the derivation of the Hubble constant H[SUB]0[/SUB] from time delay measurements and investigations on the presence of massive substructures in the lensing galaxy.Methods.Visible and near-infrared imaging observations of RXS J113155.4-123155 were carried out at various epochs using several ground based telescopes and the HST. The frames have been deconvolved using the MCS algorithm. A Singular Isothermal Ellipsoid (SIE) + external shear has been used to model the lensing galaxy potential. Results. MCS deconvolution enables us to separate the flux of the QSO (point-like images) from that of its host galaxy and to accurately track the flux variations of the point-like images in various filters. The deconvolved frames unveil several multiply imaged structures in the Einstein ring and an unidentified object in the vicinity of the lensing galaxy. We discuss the lightcurves and the chromatic flux ratio variations and deduce that both intrinsic variability and microlensing took place during a span longer than one year. We demonstrate that microlensing may easily account for the so called anomalous flux ratios presented in the discovery paper. However, the observed flux ratios are still poorly reproduced when modeling the lens potential with a SIE+shear. We argue that this disagreement can hardly be explained by milli-lensing caused by substructures in the lensing galaxy. A solution proposed in Paper II consists in a more complex lens model including an octupole term to the lens gravitational potential. [less ▲]

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See detailInvited paper (Collège de France) Gravitational lensing and anomalous redshifts
Surdej, Jean ULg; Claeskens, Jean-François ULg; Sluse, Dominique

in Pecker, Jean-Claude; Narlikar, Jayant (Eds.) Current Issues in Cosmology (2006)

In this chapter, we should like to address the following question: can we invoke gravitational lensing as a possible explanation for anomalous redshifts? In the rest of the chapter, anomalous redshifts ... [more ▼]

In this chapter, we should like to address the following question: can we invoke gravitational lensing as a possible explanation for anomalous redshifts? In the rest of the chapter, anomalous redshifts refer to redshifts observed for two distinct objects with an angular separation less than 5" and whose difference is larger than 0.1. [less ▲]

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See detailQuasars with Gaia: Identification and Astrophysical Parameters
Claeskens, Jean-François ULg; Smette, A.; Surdej, Jean ULg

in Turon, C.; O'Flaherty, K. S.; Perryman, M. A. C. (Eds.) Proceedings of the Gaia Symposium "The Three-Dimensional Universe with Gaia" (ESA SP-576) (2005, January 01)

Gaia will provide astrometric and photometric observations for about 500 000 quasars distributed over the whole sky. The latter would constitute an isotropic grid of fixed sources perfectly suited to ... [more ▼]

Gaia will provide astrometric and photometric observations for about 500 000 quasars distributed over the whole sky. The latter would constitute an isotropic grid of fixed sources perfectly suited to determine the referential frame. However, they must first be properly identified among stars, whose population is about 2000 times larger. Using broad and medium band photometry, we first compare the efficiency of two analysis methods (Ï 2 fitting and Artificial Neural Networks, ANNs) to produce the QSO catalogue with the lowest amount of contamination by stars. We then investigate whether the Gaia photometry could also provide precise values of the QSO astrophysical parameters (APs, like the redshift, the continuum slope, the emission line strength and possibly the extinction). To reach that purpose, we also compare the performances of the Spectral Principal Component Analysis (SPCA) with those of the Ï 2 fitting and ANN analysis. [less ▲]

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See detailAn XMM-Newton look at the Wolf-Rayet star WR 40 - The star itself, its nebula and its neighbours
Gosset, Eric ULg; Nazé, Yaël ULg; Claeskens, Jean-François ULg et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2005), 429(2), 685-704

We present the results of an XMM-Newton observation of the field of the Wolf-Rayet star WR 40. Despite a nominal exposure of 20 ks and the high sensitivity of the satellite, the star itself is not ... [more ▼]

We present the results of an XMM-Newton observation of the field of the Wolf-Rayet star WR 40. Despite a nominal exposure of 20 ks and the high sensitivity of the satellite, the star itself is not detected: we thus derive an upper limit on its X-ray flux and luminosity. Joining this result to recent reports of a non-detection of some WC stars, we suggest that the X-ray emission from single normal Wolf-Rayet stars could often be insignificant despite remarkable instabilities in the wind. On the basis of a simple modelling of the opacity of the Wolf-Rayet wind of WR 40, we show that any X-ray emission generated in the particular zone where the shocks are supposed to be numerous will indeed have little chance to emerge from the dense wind of the Wolf-Rayet star. We also report the non-detection of the ejecta nebula RCW 58 surrounding WR 40. Concerning the field around these objects, we detected 33 X-ray sources, most of them previously unknown: we establish a catalog of these sources and cross-correlate it with catalogs of optical/infrared sources. [less ▲]

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See detailRXS J1131-1231: a lensed host galaxy at z = 0.66
Claeskens, Jean-François ULg; Sluse, Dominique; Riaud, Pierre ULg et al

in Claeskens, J. F.; Sluse, D.; Riaud, Pierre (Eds.) et al Proceedings of the Joint European and National Astronomy Meeting (http://www.astro.ulg.ac.be/RPub/Colloques/JENAM/proceedings/proceedings.html) (2005)

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See detailA quadruply imaged quasar with an optical Einstein ring candidate: 1RXS J113155.4-123155
Sluse, D.; Surdej, Jean ULg; Claeskens, Jean-François ULg et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2003), 406(Letters), 43-46

We report the discovery of a new quadruply imaged quasar surrounded by an optical Einstein ring candidate. Spectra of the different components of 1RXS J113155.4-123155 reveal a source at z= 0.658. Up to ... [more ▼]

We report the discovery of a new quadruply imaged quasar surrounded by an optical Einstein ring candidate. Spectra of the different components of 1RXS J113155.4-123155 reveal a source at z= 0.658. Up to now, this object is the closest known gravitationally lensed quasar. The lensing galaxy is clearly detected. Its redshift is measured to be z= 0.295. Additionally, the total V magnitude of the system has varied by 0.3 mag between two epochs separated by 33 weeks. The measured relative astrometry of the lensed images is best fitted with an SIS model plus shear. This modeling suggests very high magnification of the source (up to 50 for the total magnification) and predicts flux ratios between the lensed images significantly different from what is actually observed. This suggests that the lensed images may be affected by a combination of micro or milli-lensing and dust extinction effects. Based on data collected at the European Southern Observatory, La Silla, Chile. [less ▲]

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See detailDiscovery of a new quadruply imaged quasar surrounded by an Einstein ring
Sluse, Dominique; Surdej, Jean ULg; Hutsemekers, Damien ULg et al

Conference (2003)

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See detailGravitational lensing in quasar samples
Claeskens, Jean-François ULg; Surdej, Jean ULg

in Astronomy and Astrophysics Review (2002), 10(4), 263-311

The first cosmic mirage was discovered approximately 20 years ago as the double optical counterpart of a radio source. This phenomenon had been predicted some 70 years earlier as a consequence of General ... [more ▼]

The first cosmic mirage was discovered approximately 20 years ago as the double optical counterpart of a radio source. This phenomenon had been predicted some 70 years earlier as a consequence of General Relativity. We present here a summary of what we have learnt since. The applications are so numerous that we had to concentrate on a few selected aspects of this new field of research. This review is focused on strong gravitational lensing, i.e. the formation of multiple images, in QSO samples. It is intended to give the reader an up-to-date status of the observations and to present an overview of its most interesting potential applications in cosmology and astrophysics, as well as numerous important results achieved so far. The first section follows an intuitive approach to the basics of gravitational lensing and is developed in view of our interest in multiply imaged quasars. The astrophysical and cosmological applications of gravitational lensing are outlined in Sect. 2 and the most important results are presented in Sect. 5. Sections 3 and 4 are devoted to the observations. Finally, conclusions are summarized in the last section. We have tried to avoid duplication with existing (and excellent) introductions to the field of oravitational lensing. For this reason, we did not concentrate on the individual properties of specific lens models, as these are already well presented in Narayan and Bartelmann (1996) and on a more intuitive ground in Refsdal and Surdej (1994). Wambsganss (1998) proposes a broad view on gravitational lensing, in astronomy; the reviews by Fort and Mellier (1994) and Hattori et al. (1999) deal with lensing by galaxy clusters, microlensing in the Galaxy and the local group is reviewed by Paczynski (1996) and a general panorama on weak lensing is given by Bartelmann and Schneider (1999) and Mellier (1999). The monograph on the theory of gravitational lensing by Schneider, Ehlers and Falco (1992) also remains a reference in the field. [less ▲]

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