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Illuminating a Dark Lens : A Type Ia Supernova Magnified by the Frontier Fields Galaxy Cluster Abell 2744

Rodney, S.; Patel, B.; Scolnic, D.; Foley, R.J.; Molino, A.; Brammer, G.; Jauzac, M.; Bradac, M.; Broadhurst, T.; Coe, D.; Diego, J.M.; Graur, O.; Hjorth, J.; Hoag, A.; Jha, S.W.; Johnson, T.L.; Kelly, P.; Lam, D.; McCully, C.; Medezinski, E.; Meneghetti, M.; Merten, J.; Richard, J.; Riess, A.; Sharon, K.; Strolger, L.-G.; Treu, T.; Wang, X.; Williams, L.L.R.; Zitrin, A.

Illuminating a Dark Lens : A Type Ia Supernova Magnified by the Frontier Fields Galaxy Cluster Abell 2744 Thumbnail


S. Rodney

B. Patel

D. Scolnic

R.J. Foley

A. Molino

G. Brammer

M. Bradac

T. Broadhurst

D. Coe

J.M. Diego

O. Graur

J. Hjorth

A. Hoag

S.W. Jha

T.L. Johnson

P. Kelly

D. Lam

C. McCully

E. Medezinski

M. Meneghetti

J. Merten

J. Richard

A. Riess

K. Sharon

L.-G. Strolger

T. Treu

X. Wang

L.L.R. Williams

A. Zitrin


SN HFF14Tom is a Type Ia SN discovered at $z=1.3457\pm 0.0001$ behind the galaxy cluster Abell 2744 (z = 0.308). In a cosmology-independent analysis, we find that HFF14Tom is 0.77 ± 0.15 mag brighter than unlensed Type Ia SNe at similar redshift, implying a lensing magnification of ${\mu }_{\mathrm{obs}}=2.03\pm 0.29.$ This observed magnification provides a rare opportunity for a direct empirical test of galaxy cluster lens models. Here we test 17 lens models, 13 of which were generated before the SN magnification was known, qualifying as pure "blind tests." The models are collectively fairly accurate: 8 of the models deliver median magnifications that are consistent with the measured μ to within 1σ. However, there is a subtle systematic bias: the significant disagreements all involve models overpredicting the magnification. We evaluate possible causes for this mild bias, and find no single physical or methodological explanation to account for it. We do find that model accuracy can be improved to some extent with stringent quality cuts on multiply imaged systems, such as requiring that a large fraction have spectroscopic redshifts. In addition to testing model accuracies as we have done here, Type Ia SN magnifications could also be used as inputs for future lens models of Abell 2744 and other clusters, providing valuable constraints in regions where traditional strong- and weak-lensing information is unavailable.


Rodney, S., Patel, B., Scolnic, D., Foley, R., Molino, A., Brammer, G., …Zitrin, A. (2015). Illuminating a Dark Lens : A Type Ia Supernova Magnified by the Frontier Fields Galaxy Cluster Abell 2744. Astrophysical Journal, 811(1), Article 70.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 14, 2015
Online Publication Date Sep 22, 2015
Publication Date Sep 20, 2015
Deposit Date Nov 5, 2015
Publicly Available Date Nov 6, 2015
Journal Astrophysical Journal
Print ISSN 0004-637X
Electronic ISSN 1538-4357
Publisher American Astronomical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 811
Issue 1
Article Number 70
Keywords Galaxies: clusters: general, Galaxies: clusters: individual (Abell 2744), Gravitational lensing: strong, Gravitational lensing: weak, Supernovae: general, Supernovae: individual (HFF14Tom).


Published Journal Article (1.7 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2015. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

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