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The Sloan Lens ACS Survey. XI. Beyond Hubble resolution: size, luminosity and stellar mass of compact lensed galaxies at intermediate redshift

By Elisabeth R. Newton, Philip J. Marshall, Tommaso Treu, Matthew W. Auger, Raphael Gavazzi, Adam S. Bolton, Leon V. E. Koopmans and Leonidas A. Moustakas


We exploit the strong lensing effect to explore the properties of intrinsically faint and compact galaxies at intermediate redshift, at the highest possible resolution at optical wavelengths. Our sample consists of 46 strongly-lensed emission line galaxies discovered by the Sloan Lens ACS (SLACS) Survey. The galaxies have been imaged at high resolution with HST in three bands (V_HST, I_814 and H_160), allowing us to infer their size, luminosity, and stellar mass using stellar population synthesis models. Lens modeling is performed using a new fast and robust code, klens, which we test extensively on real and synthetic non-lensed galaxies, and also on simulated galaxies multiply-imaged by SLACS- like galaxy-scale lenses. Our tests show that our measurements of galaxy size, flux, and Sersic index are robust and accurate, even for objects intrinsically smaller than the HST point spread function. The median magnification is 8.8, with a long tail that extends to magnifications above 40. Modeling the SLACS sources reveals a population of galaxies with colors and Sersic indices (median n ~ 1) consistent with the objects detected in the field with HST in the GEMS survey, but that are (typically) ~ 2 magnitudes fainter and ~ 5 times smaller in apparent size. The closest analog are ultracompact emission line galaxies identified by HST grism surveys. The lowest mass galaxies in our sample are comparable to the brightest Milky Way satellites in stellar mass (10^7 solar masses) and have well-determined half light radii of 0."05 (~0.3 kpc).Comment: 19 pages, 12 figures, 6 tables, accepted for publication in Ap

Topics: Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1088/0004-637X/734/2/104
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