The anatomy of a quadruply imaged gravitational lens system

S. H. Suyu, R. D. Blandford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The key to using a strong gravitational lens system to measure the Hubble constant is to obtain an accurate model of the lens potential. In this paper, we investigate the properties of gravitational lens B1608+656, a quadruply imaged lens system with an extended source intensity distribution. Our analysis is valid for generic quadruply lensed systems. Limit curves and isophotal separatrices are defined for such systems, and we show that the isophotal separatrices must intersect at the critical curves and the satellite isophotes must be tangent to the limit curves. The most recent model of B1608+656 by Koopmans et al. satisfies these criteria for some, but not all, of the isophotal separatrices within the observational uncertainty. We study a non-parametric method of potential reconstruction proposed by Blandford, Surpi & Kundic and demonstrate that although the method works in principle and elucidates image formation, the initial potential only converges to the true model when it is within ∼1 per cent of the true model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-48
Number of pages10
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Galaxies: individual: B1608+656
  • Gravitational lensing


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