Three gravitationally lensed supernovae behind CLASH galaxy clusters Academic Article uri icon


  • We report observations of three gravitationally lensed supernovae (SNe) in the Cluster Lensing And Supernova survey with Hubble (CLASH) Multi-Cycle Treasury program. These objects, SN CLO12Car (z = 1.28), SN CLN12Did (z = 0.85), and SN CLA11Tib (z = 1.14), are located behind three different clusters, MACSJ1720.2+3536 (z = 0.391), RXJ1532.9+3021 (z = 0.345), and A383 (z = 0.187), respectively. Each SN was detected in Hubble Space Telescope optical and infrared images. Based on photometric classification, we find that SNe CLO12Car and CLN12Did are likely to be Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia), while the classification of SN CLA11Tib is inconclusive. Using multi-color light-curve fits to determine a standardized SN Ia luminosity distance, we infer that SN CLO12Car was ~1.0 ± 0.2 mag brighter than field SNe Ia at a similar redshift and ascribe this to gravitational lens magnification. Similarly, SN CLN12Did is ~0.2 ± 0.2 mag brighter than field SNe Ia. We derive independent estimates of the predicted magnification from CLASH strong+weak-lensing maps of the clusters (in magnitude units, 2.5 log_(10)μ): 0.83 ± 0.16 mag for SN CLO12Car, 0.28 ± 0.08 mag for SN CLN12Did, and 0.43 ± 0.11 mag for SN CLA11Tib. The two SNe Ia provide a new test of the cluster lens model predictions: we find that the magnifications based on the SN Ia brightness and those predicted by the lens maps are consistent. Our results herald the promise of future observations of samples of cluster-lensed SNe Ia (from the ground or space) to help illuminate the dark-matter distribution in clusters of galaxies, through the direct determination of absolute magnifications.


publication date

  • January 1, 2014