A close-separation double quasar lensed by a gas-rich galaxy

Michael D. Gregg, Lutz Wisotzki, Robert H. Becker, José Maza, Paul L. Schechter, Richard L. White, Michael S. Brotherton, Joshua N. Winn

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In the course of a Cycle 8 snapshot imaging survey with the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS), we have discovered that the z = 1.565 quasar HE 0512-3329 is a double with image separation 0″.644, differing in brightness by only 0.4 mag. This system is almost certainly gravitationally lensed. Although separate spectra for the two images have not yet been obtained, the possibility that either component is a Galactic star is ruled out by a high signal-to-noise composite ground-based spectrum and separate photometry for the two components: the spectrum shows no trace of any zero-redshift stellar absorption features belonging to a star with the temperature indicated by the broadband photometry. The optical spectrum shows strong absorption features of Mg II, Mg I, Fe II, Fe I, and Ca I, all at an identical intervening redshift of z = 0.9313, probably due to the lensing object. The strength of Mg II and the presence of the other low-ionization absorption features is strong evidence for a clamped Lyα system, likely the disk of a spiral galaxy. Point-spread function fitting to remove the two quasar components from the STIS image leads to a tentative detection of a third object, which may be the nucleus of the lensing galaxy. The brighter component is significantly redder than the fainter, due to either differential extinction or microlensing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2535-2539
Number of pages5
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2000
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Gravitational lensing
  • Quasars: individual (HE 0512-3329)


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