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Near-IR search for lensed supernovae behind galaxy clusters. II. First detection and future prospects

Goobar, A. and Paech, K. and Stanishev, V. and Amanullah, R. and Dahlén, T. and Jönsson, J. and Kneib, J. P. and Lidman, C. and Limousin, M. and Mörtsell, E. and Nobili, S. and Richard, J. and Riehm, T. and von Strauss, M. (2009) Near-IR search for lensed supernovae behind galaxy clusters. II. First detection and future prospects. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 507 (1). pp. 71-83. ISSN 0004-6361.

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Aims. Powerful gravitational telescopes in the form of massive galaxy clusters can be used to enhance the light collecting power over a limited field of view by about an order of magnitude in flux. This effect is exploited here to increase the depth of a survey for lensed supernovae at near-IR wavelengths. Methods. We present a pilot supernova search programme conducted with the ISAAC camera at VLT. Lensed galaxies behind the massive clusters A1689, A1835, and AC114 were observed for a total of 20 h divided into 2, 3, and 4 epochs respectively, separated by approximately one month to a limiting magnitude J ≾ 24 (Vega). Image subtractions including another 20 h worth of archival ISAAC/VLT data were used to search for transients with lightcurve properties consistent with redshifted supernovae, both in the new and reference data. Results. The feasibility of finding lensed supernovae in our survey was investigated using synthetic lightcurves of supernovae and several models of the volumetric type Ia and core-collapse supernova rates as a function of redshift. We also estimate the number of supernova discoveries expected from the inferred star-formation rate in the observed galaxies. The methods consistently predict a Poisson mean value for the expected number of supernovae in the survey of between N_(SN) = 0.8 and 1.6 for all supernova types, evenly distributed between core collapse and type Ia supernovae. One transient object was found behind A1689, 0.5" from a galaxy with photometric redshift z_(gal) = 0.6 0.15. The lightcurve and colors of the transient are consistent with being a reddened type IIP supernova at z_(SN) = 0.59. The lensing model predicts 1.4 mag of magnification at the location of the transient, without which this object would not have been detected in the near-IR ground-based search described in this paper (unlensed magnitude J ~ 25). We perform a feasibility study of the potential for lensed supernovae discoveries with larger and deeper surveys and conclude that the use of gravitational telescopes is a very exciting path for new discoveries. For example, a monthly rolling supernova search of a single very massive cluster with the HAWK-I camera at VLT would yield ≳ 10 lensed supernova lightcurves per year, where type Ia supernovae would constitute about half of the expected sample.

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Richard, J.0000-0001-5492-1049
Additional Information:© ESO 2009. Received 30 October 2008. Accepted 7 April 2009. Published online 11 August 2009. We would like to thank Peter Nugent for providing lightcurve and spectral templates used in this analysis. Filippo Mannucci is also thanked for making his SN rate predictions available to us. We are also grateful to Dovi Poznanski for providing us with lightcurves and spectra of SN2001cy and to Avishay Gal-Yam for comments on an earlier draft. K.P. gratefully acknowledges support from the Wenner-Gren Foundation. A.G., V.S. and S.N. acknowledge support from the Gustafsson foundation. V.S. acknowledges financial support from the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia. A.G. and E.M. acknowledge financial support from the Swedish Research Council. J.P.K. thanks CNRS for support as well as the French-Israeli council for Research, Science and Technology Cooperation.
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Fundacao para a Ciencia e a Tecnologia UNSPECIFIED
Swedish Research Council UNSPECIFIED
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)UNSPECIFIED
French-Israeli council for Research, Science and Technology Cooperation UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:cosmology: observations; stars: supernovae: general; galaxies: clusters: general; gravitational lensing
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20100111-145104255
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Official Citation: Near-IR search for lensed supernovae behind galaxy clusters - II. First detection and future prospects A. Goobar, K. Paech, V. Stanishev, R. Amanullah, T. Dahlén, J. Jönsson, J. P. Kneib, C. Lidman, M. Limousin, E. Mörtsell, S. Nobili, J. Richard, T. Riehm and M. von Strauss A&A 507 (1) 71-83 (2009) DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/200811254
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:17136
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:12 Jan 2010 22:35
Last Modified:27 Mar 2019 23:07

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