3C 220.3: A radio galaxy lensing a submillimeter galaxy

Martin Haas, Christian Leipski, Peter Barthel, Belinda J. Wilkes, Simona Vegetti, R. Shane Bussmann, S. P. Willner, Christian Westhues, Matthew L.N. Ashby, Rolf Chini, David L. Clements, Christopher D. Fassnacht, Assaf Horesh, Ulrich Klaas, Léon V.E. Koopmans, Joanna Kuraszkiewicz, David J. Lagattuta, Klaus Meisenheimer, Daniel Stern, Dominika Wylezalek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Herschel Space Observatory photometry and extensive multiwavelength follow-up have revealed that the powerful radio galaxy (PRG) 3C 220.3 at z = 0.685 acts as a gravitational lens for a background submillimeter galaxy (SMG) at z = 2.221. At an observed wavelength of 1 mm, the SMG is lensed into three distinct images. In the observed near infrared, these images are connected by an arc of 1″.8 radius forming an Einstein half-ring centered near the radio galaxy. In visible light, only the arc is apparent. 3C 220.3 is the only known instance of strong galaxy-scale lensing by a PRG not located in a galaxy cluster and therefore it offers the potential to probe the dark matter content of the radio galaxy host. Lens modeling rejects a single lens, but two lenses centered on the radio galaxy host A and a companion B, separated by 1″.5, provide a fit consistent with all data and reveal faint candidates for the predicted fourth and fifth images. The model does not require an extended common dark matter halo, consistent with the absence of extended bright X-ray emission on our Chandra image. The projected dark matter fractions within the Einstein radii of A (1″.02) and B (0″.61) are about 0.4 ± 0.3 and 0.55 ± 0.3. The mass to i-band light ratios of A and B, , appear comparable to those of radio-quiet lensing galaxies at the same redshift in the CfA-Arizona Space Telescope LEns Survey, Lenses Structure and Dynamics, and Strong Lenses in the Legacy Survey samples. The lensed SMG is extremely bright with observed f(250 μm) = 440 mJy owing to a magnification factor μ 10. The SMG spectrum shows luminous, narrow C IV λ1549 Å emission, revealing that the SMG houses a hidden quasar in addition to a violent starburst. Multicolor image reconstruction of the SMG indicates a bipolar morphology of the emitted ultraviolet (UV) light suggestive of cones through which UV light escapes a dust-enshrouded nucleus.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number46
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 20 Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • dark matter
  • galaxies: individual (3C 220.3)
  • gravitational lensing: strong
  • radio continuum: galaxies
  • submillimeter: galaxies


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