The multiply imaged strongly lensed supernova refsdal

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In 1964, Sjur Refsdal first considered the possibility that the light from a background supernova could traverse multiple paths around a strong gravitational lens towards us. He showed that the arrival times of the supernova's light would depend on the cosmic expansion rate, as well as the distribution of matter in the lens. I discussed the discovery of the first such multiply imaged supernova, which exploded behind the MACS J1149.6+2223 galaxy cluster. We have obtained Hubble Space Telescope grism and ground-based spectra of the four images of the supernova, which form an Einstein Cross configuration around an elliptical cluster member. These spectra as well as rest-frame optical light curves have allowed us to learn about the properties of the peculiar core-collapse supernova explosion, which occurred 4.3 Gyr after the Bang Bang, and contain information about the lenses matter distribution as well as their stellar populations. A delayed image of the supernova is expected close to the galaxy cluster center as early as this Fall, and will serve as an unprecedented probe of the potential of a massive galaxy cluster.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)822-824
Number of pages3
JournalProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
Issue numberA29B
StatePublished - 2015


  • (stars:) supernovae: individual (SN Refsdal)
  • galaxies: clusters: individual (MACS J1149.6+2223)
  • gravitational lensing


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