In a recent paper, Hawkins (1997) argues on the basis of statistical studies of double-image gravitational lenses and lens candidates that a large population of dark lenses exists and that these outnumber galaxies with more normal mass-to-light ratios by a factor of 3:1. If correct, this is a very important result for many areas of astronomy including galaxy formation and cosmology. In this paper we discuss our new radio-selected gravitational lens sample, JVAS/CLASS, in order to test and constrain this proposition. We have obtained ground-based and HST images of all multiple-image lens systems in our sample and in 12 cases out of 12 we find the lensing galaxies in the optical and/or near infrared. Our success in finding lensing galaxies creates problems for the dark lens hypothesis. If it is to survive, ad hoc modifications seem to be necessary: only very massive galaxies (Mga9 *E(11) Msun) can be dark, and the cutoff in mass must be sharp. Our finding of lens galaxies in all the JVAS/CLASS systems is complementary evidence which supports the conclusion of Kochanek et al. (1997) that many of the wide-separation optically-selected pairs are physically distinct quasars rather than gravitational lens systems.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- June 1998
- GALAXIES: FUNDAMENTAL PARAMETERS;
- COSMOLOGY: DARK MATTER;
- GRAVITATIONAL LENSING;
- 4 pages, 2 included figures, accepted for publication in Astronomy and Astrophysics. Paper version available on request. This replacement amends the text to allow more discussion of the overlap with astro-ph/9710165