Microlensing-Based Estimate of the Mass Fraction in Compact Objects in Lens

Mediavilla, E.
Munoz, J. A.
Falco, E.
Motta, V.
Guerras, E.
Canovas, H.
Jean, C.
Oscoz, A.
Mosquera, A. M.
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We estimate the fraction of mass that is composed of compact objects in gravitational lens galaxies. This study is based on microlensing measurements (obtained from the literature) of a sample of 29 quasar image pairs seen through 20 lens galaxies. We determine the baseline for no microlensing magnification between two images from the ratios of emission line fluxes. Relative to this baseline, the ratio between the continua of the two images gives the difference in microlensing magnification. The histogram of observed microlensing events peaks close to no magnification and is concentrated below 0.6 magnitudes, although two events of high magnification, $\Delta m \sim 1.5$, are also present. We study the likelihood of the microlensing measurements using frequency distributions obtained from simulated microlensing magnification maps for different values of the fraction of mass in compact objects, $\alpha$. The concentration of microlensing measurements close to $\Delta m \sim 0$ can be explained only by simulations corresponding to very low values of $\alpha$ (10% or less). A maximum likelihood test yields $\alpha=0.05_{-0.03}^{+0.09}$ (90% confidence interval) for a quasar continuum source of intrinsic size $r_{s_0}\sim 2.6 \cdot 10^{15} \rm cm$. Regarding the current controversy about Milky Way/LMC and M31 microlensing studies, our work supports the hypothesis of a very low content in MACHOS (Massive Compact Halo Objects).
Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics