Publication

The Sloan Lens ACS Survey. I. A large spectroscopically selected sample of massive early-type lens galaxies

Bolton, AS., Burles, S., Koopmans, LVE., Treu, T. & Moustakas, LA., 20-Feb-2006, In : Astrophysical Journal. 638, 2, p. 703-724 22 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

The Sloan Lens ACS (SLACS) Survey is an efficient Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Snapshot imaging survey for new galaxy-scale strong gravitational lenses. The targeted lens candidates are selected spectroscopically from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) database of galaxy spectra for having multiple nebular emission lines at a redshift significantly higher than that of the SDSS target galaxy. The SLACS survey is optimized to detect bright early-type lens galaxies with faint lensed sources in order to increase the sample of known gravitational lenses suitable for detailed lensing, photometric, and dynamical modeling. In this paper, the first in a series on the current results of our HST Cycle 13 imaging survey, we present a catalog of 19 newly discovered gravitational lenses, along with nine other observed candidate systems that are either possible lenses, nonlenses, or nondetections. The survey efficiency is thus >= 68%. We also present Gemini 8 m and Magellan 6.5 m integral-field spectroscopic data for nine of the SLACS targets, which further support the lensing interpretation. A new method for the effective subtraction of foreground galaxy images to reveal faint background features is presented. We show that the SLACS lens galaxies have colors and ellipticities typical of the spectroscopic parent sample from which they are drawn (SDSS luminous red galaxies and quiescent MAIN sample galaxies), but are somewhat brighter and more centrally concentrated. Several explanations for the latter bias are suggested. The SLACS survey provides the first statistically significant and homogeneously selected sample of bright early-type lens galaxies, furnishing a powerful probe of the structure of early-type galaxies within the half-light radius. The high confirmation rate of lenses in the SLACS survey suggests consideration of spectroscopic lens discovery as an explicit science goal of future spectroscopic galaxy surveys.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)703-724
Number of pages22
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume638
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20-Feb-2006

    Keywords

  • galaxies : elliptical and lenticular, cD, galaxies : evolution, galaxies : formation, galaxies : structure, gravitational lensing, DIGITAL SKY SURVEY, COLD DARK-MATTER, OPTICAL EINSTEIN RING, NORTH MULTIOBJECT SPECTROGRAPH, GRAVITATIONAL LENS, ELLIPTIC GALAXIES, COSMOLOGICAL PARAMETERS, FUNDAMENTAL PLANE, TARGET SELECTION, BARYONIC INFALL

ID: 4408683