Quasar Microlensing at High Magnification and the Role of Dark Matter: Enhanced Fluctuations and Suppressed Saddle Points
Abstract
Contrary to naive expectation, diluting the stellar component of the lensing galaxy in a highly magnified system with smoothly distributed ``dark'' matter increases rather than decreases the microlensing fluctuations caused by the remaining stars. For a bright pair of images straddling a critical curve, the saddle point (of the arrival time surface) is much more strongly affected than the associated minimum. With a mass ratio of smooth matter to microlensing matter of 4:1, a saddle point with a macromagnification of μ=9.5 will spend half of its time more than a magnitude fainter than predicted. The anomalous flux ratio observed for the close pair of images in MG 0414+0534 is a factor of 5 more likely than computed by Witt, Mao, & Schechter, if the smooth matter fraction is as high as 93%. The magnification probability histograms for macroimages exhibit a distinctly different structure that varies with the smooth matter content, providing a handle on the smooth matter fraction. Enhanced fluctuations can manifest themselves either in the temporal variations of a light curve or as flux ratio anomalies in a single epoch snapshot of a multiply imaged system. While the millilensing simulations of Metcalf & Madau also give larger anomalies for saddle points than for minima, the effect appears to be less dramatic for extended subhalos than for point masses. Moreover, microlensing is distinguishable from millilensing because it will produce noticeable changes in the magnification on a timescale of a decade or less.
 Publication:

The Astrophysical Journal
 Pub Date:
 December 2002
 DOI:
 10.1086/343856
 arXiv:
 arXiv:astroph/0204425
 Bibcode:
 2002ApJ...580..685S
 Keywords:

 Cosmology: Dark Matter;
 Cosmology: Gravitational Lensing;
 Galaxies: Quasars: Individual: Alphanumeric: MG 0414+0534;
 Astrophysics
 EPrint:
 As accepted for publication in ApJ. 17 pages. Substantial revisions include a discussion of constant M/L models and the calculation of a "photometric" dark matter fraction for MG0414+0534