SN Refsdal

SN Refsdal is the first detected multiply-lensed supernova, visible within the field of the galaxy cluster MACS J1149+2223. It was given its nickname in honor of the Norwegian astrophysicist Sjur Refsdal, who, in 1964, first proposed using time-delayed images from a lensed supernova to study the expansion of the universe.[1][2][3] The observations were made using the Hubble Space Telescope.[4]

SN Refsdal
The past, present and future appearances of the Refsdal supernova
SN Refsdal (inset picture) and galaxy cluster MACS J1149.6+2223.
Spectral classUnknown
Date11 November 2014
Patrick Kelly (GLASS)
Right ascension 11h 49m 35.45s[1]
Declination22° 23′ 44.84″[1]
Notable featuresFirst multiply-lensed supernova

Einstein cross

The host galaxy of SN Refsdal is at a redshift of 1.49, corresponding to a comoving distance of 14.4 billion light-years and a lookback time of 9.34 billion years.[5] The multiple images are arranged around the elliptical galaxy at z = 0.54 in a cross-shaped pattern, also known as an "Einstein cross".[1]


The image to the left shows a part of the deep field observation of the galaxy cluster MACS J1149.5+2223 from the Frontier Fields programme. The circle indicates the predicted position of the newest appearance of the supernova. To the lower right the Einstein cross event from late 2014 is visible. The image on the top right shows observations by Hubble from October 2015, taken at the beginning of the observation programme to detect the newest appearance of the supernova. The image on the lower right shows the discovery of the Refsdal Supernova on 11 December 2015, as predicted by several different models.

After the discovery of the Refsdal Supernova, astronomers predicted that they would have the rare opportunity to see the supernova again in about one year, after the four images had faded away. This is because the initially observed four-image pattern was only one component of the lensing display. The supernova may have appeared as a single image some 40–50 years ago elsewhere in the cluster field.[1]

The supernova Refsdal reappeared punctually at the predicted position between mid November 2015 and December 11, 2015[6] (with the exact date being uncertain by approximately one month which is the interval between two consecutive Hubble observations),[7] in excellent agreement with the blind model predictions made before the reappearance was observed.[8][9][10] The time delay between the original quadruplet observed in 2014 and the latest appearance of the supernova in 2015 was used to infer the value of the Hubble constant. This is the first time this technique, originally suggested by Refsdal, has been applied to supernovae.[11]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f Kelly, P. L.; Rodney, S. A.; Treu, T.; Foley, R. J.; Brammer, G.; Schmidt, K. B.; Zitrin, A.; Sonnenfeld, A.; Strolger, L. -G.; Graur, O.; Filippenko, A. V.; Jha, S. W.; Riess, A. G.; Bradac, M.; Weiner, B. J.; Scolnic, D.; Malkan, M. A.; von Der Linden, A.; Trenti, M.; Hjorth, J.; Gavazzi, R.; Fontana, A.; Merten, J. C.; McCully, C.; Jones, T.; Postman, M.; Dressler, A.; Patel, B.; Cenko, S. B.; et al. (2015). "Multiple images of a highly magnified supernova formed by an early-type cluster galaxy lens". Science. 347 (6226): 1123–1126. arXiv:1411.6009. Bibcode:2015Sci...347.1123K. doi:10.1126/science.aaa3350. PMID 25745167.
  2. ^ Overbye, Dennis (March 5, 2015). "Astronomers Observe Supernova and Find They're Watching Reruns". New York Times. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
  3. ^ Amina Khan (5 March 2015). "Don't believe the light: Supernova in 'Einstein Cross' is a cosmic trick". Los Angeles Times.
  4. ^ Sharon, K.; Johnson, T. L. (2015). "Revised Lens Model for the Multiply Imaged Lensed Supernova, "Sn Refsdal" in Macs J1149+2223". The Astrophysical Journal. 800 (2): L26. arXiv:1411.6933. Bibcode:2015ApJ...800L..26S. doi:10.1088/2041-8205/800/2/L26.
  5. ^ "Cosmological redshift z=1.49". Wolfram Alpha. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  6. ^ "Caught in the act - Hubble captures first-ever predicted exploding star". Retrieved 2015-12-19.
  7. ^ "Detection of a SN near the center of the galaxy cluster field MACS1149 consistent with predictions of a new image of Supernova Refsdal". Patrick Kelly. The Astronomer's Telegram. 13 Dec 2015.
  8. ^ Oguri, Masamune (2015). "Predicted Properties of Multiple Images of the Strongly Lensed Supernova SN Refsdal". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 449 (1): L86–L89. arXiv:1411.6443. Bibcode:2015MNRAS.449L..86O. doi:10.1093/mnrasl/slv025.
  9. ^ Diego, J.M; Broadhurst, T.; Chen, C.; Lim, J.; Zitrin, A.; Chan, B.; Coe7, D.; Ford, H. C.; Lam, D.; Zheng, W. (2016). "A Free-Form Prediction for the Reappearance of Supernova Refsdal in the Hubble Frontier Fields Cluster MACSJ1149.5+2223". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 456 (1): 356–365. arXiv:1504.05953. Bibcode:2016MNRAS.456..356D. doi:10.1093/mnras/stv2638.
  10. ^ Treu, T; et al. (2016). "Refsdal meets Popper: comparing predictions of the re-appearance of the multiply imaged supernova behind MACS1149.5+2223". The Astrophysical Journal. 817 (1): 60. arXiv:1510.05750. Bibcode:2016ApJ...817...60T. doi:10.3847/0004-637X/817/1/60.
  11. ^ Vega-Ferrero, J.; Diego, J.M; Miranda, V.; Bersntein, G. (2018). "The Hubble Constant from SN Refsdal". Astrophysical Journal Letters. pp. 31–36. arXiv:1712.05800. Bibcode:2018ApJ...853...31O. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/aaa004.

External links

Einstein Cross

The Einstein Cross (Q2237+030 or QSO 2237+0305) is a gravitationally lensed quasar that sits directly behind ZW 2237+030, Huchra's Lens. Four images of the same distant quasar (plus one in the centre, too dim to see) appear around a foreground galaxy due to strong gravitational lensing.

Another Einstein Cross (J2211-3050) discovery was announced March 18, 2019 [1]

While gravitationally lensed light sources are often shaped into an Einstein ring, due to the elongated shape of the lensing galaxy and the quasar being off-centre, the images form a peculiar cross-shape instead.

Einstein ring

In observational astronomy an Einstein ring, also known as an Einstein–Chwolson ring or Chwolson ring, is the deformation of the light from a source (such as a galaxy or star) into a ring through gravitational lensing of the source's light by an object with an extremely large mass (such as another galaxy or a black hole). This occurs when the source, lens, and observer are all aligned—a syzygy. The first complete Einstein ring, designated B1938+666, was discovered by collaboration between astronomers at the University of Manchester and NASA's Hubble Space Telescope in 1998.

Gravitational lens

A gravitational lens is a distribution of matter (such as a cluster of galaxies) between a distant light source and an observer, that is capable of bending the light from the source as the light travels towards the observer. This effect is known as gravitational lensing, and the amount of bending is one of the predictions of Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity. (Classical physics also predicts the bending of light, but only half that predicted by general relativity.)

Although Einstein made unpublished calculations on the subject in 1912, Orest Khvolson (1924) and Frantisek Link (1936) are generally credited with being the first to discuss the effect in print. However, this effect is more commonly associated with Einstein, who published an article on the subject in 1936.Fritz Zwicky posited in 1937 that the effect could allow galaxy clusters to act as gravitational lenses. It was not until 1979 that this effect was confirmed by observation of the so-called "Twin QSO" SBS 0957+561.

MACS J1149 Lensed Star 1

MACS J1149 Lensed Star 1, also known as Icarus, is a blue supergiant star observed through a gravitational lens. It is the most distant individual star detected, at approximately 14 billion light-years from Earth (redshift z=1.49; comoving distance of 14.4 billion light-years; lookback time of 9.34 billion years), as of April 2018. Light from the star was emitted 4.4 billion years after the Big Bang. According to co-discoverer Patrick Kelly, the star is at least a hundred times more distant than the next-farthest non-supernova star observed, SDSS J1229+1122, and is the first magnified individual star seen.

Sjur Refsdal

Sjur Refsdal (30 December 1935 – 29 January 2009) was a Norwegian astrophysicist, born in Oslo. He is best known for his pioneer work on gravitational lensing, including the Chang-Refsdal lens.


A supernova ( plural: supernovae or supernovas, abbreviations: SN and SNe) is a transient astronomical event that occurs during the last stages of the life of a massive star or white dwarf, whose destruction is marked by a titanic explosion. This causes the sudden appearance of a "new" star, which then fades over several weeks or months or years.

Supernovae are more energetic than novae. In Latin, nova means "new", referring astronomically to what appears to be a temporary new bright star. Adding the prefix "super-" distinguishes supernovae from ordinary novae, which are far less luminous. The word supernova was coined by Walter Baade and Fritz Zwicky in 1931.

Only three Milky Way, naked-eye supernova events have been observed during the last thousand years, though many have been observed in other galaxies. The most recent directly observed supernova in the Milky Way was Kepler's Supernova in 1604, but the remnants of recent supernovae have also been found. Observations of supernovae in other galaxies suggest they occur in the Milky Way on average about three times every century. These supernovae would almost certainly be observable with modern astronomical telescopes.

Theoretical studies indicate that most supernovae are triggered by one of two basic mechanisms: the sudden re-ignition of nuclear fusion in a degenerate star or the sudden gravitational collapse of a massive star's core. In the first instance, a degenerate white dwarf may accumulate sufficient material from a binary companion, either through accretion or via a merger, to raise its core temperature enough to trigger runaway nuclear fusion, completely disrupting the star. In the second case, the core of a massive star may undergo sudden gravitational collapse, releasing gravitational potential energy as a supernova. While some observed supernovae are more complex than these two simplified theories, the astrophysical mechanics have been established and accepted by most astronomers for some time.

Supernovae can expel several solar masses of material at speeds up to several percent of the speed of light. This drives an expanding and fast-moving shock wave into the surrounding interstellar medium, sweeping up an expanding shell of gas and dust observed as a supernova remnant. Supernovae are a major source of elements in the interstellar medium from oxygen through to rubidium. The expanding shock waves of supernovae can trigger the formation of new stars. Supernova remnants might be a major source of cosmic rays. Supernovae might produce strong gravitational waves, though, thus far, the gravitational waves detected have been from the merger of black holes and neutron stars.

Physics of

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