Hubble Space Telescope Observations of a Spectacular New Strong-Lensing Galaxy Cluster: MACS J1149.5+2223 At Z=0.544

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • H Ebeling
  • M Limousin
  • JP Kneib
  • AM Swinbank
  • CJ Ma
  • M Jauzac
  • J Richard
  • E Jullo
  • DJ Sand
  • AC Edge
  • I Smail

Colleges, School and Institutes


We present Advanced Camera for Surveys observations of MACS J1149.5+2223, an X-ray luminous galaxy cluster at z = 0.544 discovered by the Massive Cluster Survey. The data reveal at least seven multiply imaged galaxies, three of which we have confirmed spectroscopically. One of these is a spectacular face-on spiral galaxy at z = 1.491, the four images of which are gravitationally magnified by 8 less than or similar to mu less than or similar to 23. We identify this as an L* (M-B similar or equal to -20.7), disk-dominated (B/T less than or similar to 0.5) galaxy, forming stars at similar to 6 M-circle dot yr(-1). We use a robust sample of multiply imaged galaxies to constrain a parameterized model of the cluster mass distribution. In addition to the main cluster dark matter halo and the bright cluster galaxies, our best model includes three galaxy-group-sized halos. The relative probability of this model is P(N-halo = 4)/P (N-halo <4) >= 10(12) where N-halo is the number of cluster/group-scale halos. In terms of sheer number of merging cluster/group-scale components, this is the most complex strong-lensing cluster core studied to date. The total cluster mass and fraction of that mass associated with substructures within R


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L163-L168
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2009


  • galaxies: clusters: individual (MACSJ1149.5+2233), gravitational lensing, cosmology: observations, galaxies: evolution