PKS 1830-211: A face-on spiral galaxy lens

Joshua N. Winn, Christopher S. Kochanek, Brian A. McLeod, Emilio E. Falco, Christopher D. Impey, Hans Walter Rix

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67 Scopus citations


We present new Hubble Space Telescope images of the gravitational lens PKS 1830-211, which allow us to characterize the lens galaxy and update the determination of the Hubble constant (H0) from this system. The I-band image shows that the lens galaxy is a face-on spiral galaxy with clearly delineated spiral arms. The southwestern image of the background quasar passes through one of the spiral arms, explaining the previous detections of large quantities of molecular gas and dust in front of this image. The lens galaxy photometry is consistent with the Tully-Fisher relation, suggesting the lens galaxy is a typical spiral galaxy for its redshift. The lens galaxy position, which was the main source of uncertainty in previous attempts to determine H0, is now known precisely. Given the current time delay measurement and assuming the lens galaxy has an isothermal mass distribution, we compute H0 = 44 ± 9 km s-1 Mpc-1 for an Ωm = 0.3 flat cosmological model. We describe some possible systematic errors and how to reduce them. We also discuss the possibility raised by Courbin et al. (2002), that what we have identified as a single lens galaxy is actually a foreground star and two separate galaxies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-110
Number of pages8
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 I
StatePublished - Aug 10 2002
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Distance scale
  • Gravitational lensing
  • Quasars: individual (PKS 1830-211)


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