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Published April 10, 1997 | Published + Accepted Version
Journal Article Open

Resolution and Kinematics of Molecular Gas Surrounding the Cloverleaf Quasar at z = 2.6 Using the Gravitational Lens


Gravitational lenses have long been advertised as primitive telescopes, capable of magnifying cosmologically distant sources. In this Letter we present new, 0 9 resolution CO (7-6) observations of the z = 2.56 Cloverleaf quasar (H1413+117) and spatially resolved images. By modeling the gravitational lens, we infer a size scale of 0."3 (~1 kpc) for the molecular gas structure surrounding the quasar, and the gas has a kinematic structure roughly consistent with a rotating disk. The observed properties of the CO-emitting gas are similar to the nuclear starburst complexes found in the infrared luminous galaxies in the local universe, and metal enrichment by vigorous star formation within this massive nuclear gas complex can explain the abundance of carbon and oxygen in the interstellar medium of this system observed when the universe was only a few billion years old. Obtaining corresponding details in an unlensed object at similar distances would be well beyond the reach of current instruments, and this study highlights the less exploited yet powerful use of a gravitational lens as a natural telescope.

Additional Information

© 1997 The American Astronomical Society. Received 1996 December 4; accepted 1997 January 23. The authors are grateful to E. Falco for kindly providing the HST image for the analysis and comparison, and to R. Barvainis for sharing his unpublished data. This manuscript also benefited greatly from the careful reading and useful suggestions by P. Ho and referee R. Antonucci. This research is supported in part by NSF grant AST 93-14079.

Attached Files

Published - Yun_1997_ApJ_479_L9.pdf

Accepted Version - 9702031


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