Adaptive Optics Imaging of the CLASS Gravitational Lens System B1359+154 with the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope
We present adaptive optics imaging of the CLASS gravitational lens system B1359+154 obtained with the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) in the infrared K band. The observations show at least three brightness peaks within the ring of lensed images, which we identify as emission from multiple lensing galaxies. The results confirm the suspected compound nature of the lens, as deduced from preliminary mass modeling. The detection of several additional nearby galaxies suggests that B1359+154 is lensed by the compact core of a small galaxy group. We attempted to produce an updated lens model based on the CFHT observations and new 5 GHz radio data obtained with the MERLIN array, but there are too few constraints to construct a realistic model at this time. The uncertainties inherent with modeling compound lenses make B1359+154 a challenging target for Hubble constant determination through the measurement of differential time delays. However, time delays will offer additional constraints to help pin down the mass model. This lens system therefore presents a unique opportunity to directly measure the mass distribution of a galaxy group at intermediate redshift.