Journal Article

On multiple Einstein rings

M. C. Werner, J. An and N. W. Evans

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 391, issue 2, pages 668-674
Published in print December 2008 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online November 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
On multiple Einstein rings

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A number of recent surveys for gravitational lenses have found examples of double Einstein rings. Here, we analytically investigate the occurrence of multiple Einstein rings. We prove, under very general assumptions, that at the most one Einstein ring can arise from a mass distribution in a single plane lensing a single background source. Two or more Einstein rings can therefore only occur in multiplane lensing. Surprisingly, we show that it is possible for a single source to produce more than one Einstein ring. If two point masses, or two isothermal spheres, in different planes are aligned with observer and source on the optical axis, we show that there are up to three Einstein rings. We also discuss the image morphologies for these two models if axisymmetry is broken, and give the first instances of magnification invariants in the case of two-lens planes.

Keywords: gravitational lensing

Journal Article.  4640 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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