The Extragalactic Lens VLBI Imaging Survey (ELVIS) searches for central images of lensed radio quasars, in order to measure the central density profiles of distant galaxies. Here we present sensitive multiepoch Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) observations of PMN J1838-3427 at 8 GHz, with a 1 σ noise level of 38 μJy beam-1. Based on the absence of a central image of the background source at this level, we explore the possibilities for the central matter distribution in the lens galaxy. A power-law density profile, ρ ∝ r-γ, must have γ > 1.93. Thus, the density profile is close to an isothermal profile (γ = 2) or steeper. The upper limit on any constant-density core in an otherwise isothermal profile is ≲5 pc. We also derive the constraints on models in which the density profile is isothermal on kiloparsec scales, but is allowed to have a different power law in the central ∼ 100 pc. If the lens galaxy harbors a supermassive black hole, the galaxy profile is allowed to be shallower, but for the expected black hole mass, the galaxy profile must still be close to isothermal or steeper.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science
- Galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD
- Gravitational lensing
- Instrumentation: interferometers