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A faint galaxy redshift survey behind massive clusters

Abstract

This thesis is concerned with the gravitational lensing effect by massive galaxy clusters. We have explored a new technique for measuring galaxy masses and for detecting high-z galaxies by their optical colors. A redshift survey has been obtained at the Keck for a magnitude limited sample of objects (I<23) behind three clusters, A1689, A2390, and A2218 within a radius of 0.5M pc. For each cluster we see both a clear trend of increasing flux and redshift towards the center. This behavior is the result of image magnifications, such that at fixed redshift one sees further down the luminosity function. The gradient of this magnification is, unlike measurements of image distortion, sensitive to the mass profile, and found to depart strongly from a pure isothermal halo. We have found that V RI color selection can be used effectively as a discriminant for finding high-z galaxies behind clusters and present five 4.1 < z < 5.1 spectra which are of very high quality due to their high mean magnification of ~20, showing strong, visibly-saturated interstellar metal lines in some cases. We have also investigated the radio ring lens PKS 1830-211, locating the source and multiple images and detected molecular absorption at mm wavelengths. Broad molecular absorption of width 1/40kms is found toward the southwest component only, where suprisingly it does not reach the base of the continuum, which implies incomplete coverage of the SW component by molecular gas, despite the small projected size of the source, less than 1/8h pc at the absorption redshift.

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