To be published in the proceedings of IAU Symposium No. 225: The Impact of Gravitational Lensing on Cosmology, Y. Mellier and G. Meylan, eds.
astro-ph/0408338

For a PDF version of the article, click here.


THE HUBBLE CONSTANT FROM GRAVITATIONAL LENS TIME DELAYS

Paul L. Schechter 1


Department of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
email: schech@mit.edu


Abstract. Present day estimates of the Hubble constant based on Cepheids and on the cosmic microwave background radiation are uncertain by roughly 10% (on the conservative assumption that the universe may not be perfectly flat). Gravitational lens time delay measurements can produce estimates that are less uncertain, but only if a variety of major difficulties are overcome. These include a paucity of constraints on the lensing potential, the degeneracies associated with mass sheets and the central concentration of the lensing galaxy, multiple lenses, microlensing by stars, and the small variability amplitude typical of most quasars. To date only one lens meets all of these challenges. Several suffer only from the central concentration degeneracy, which may be lifted if one is willing to assume that systems with time delays are either like better constrained systems with non-variable sources, or alternatively, like nearby galaxies.


Table of Contents

CONTEXT

H0 FROM TIME DELAYS CIRCA 2003

LENSING FUNDAMENTALS
The 3 D's
Modeling the lens

PROBLEM LENSES
Kochanek's time delay formulation
The mass sheet degeneracy
The central concentration degeneracy
Multiple lenses
Microlensing
The myth of quasar variability

A GOLDEN LENS

SUMMARY AND PROSPECTS

REFERENCES



1 Present address: Center for Space Research 37-664G, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA Back.

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