Today’s top story is the publication of 68 confirmed gravitational lenses from a subset of 77 candidates drawn from a list of 5,000 candidates found in the Dark Energy Survey and Dark Energy Camera Legacy Survey by neural networks. This represents an 88% success rate.
These lenses use gravity to bend light toward us that would normally travel to other parts of the universe, thus magnifying what we see. Since galaxies are lumpy but gathered into roundish clusters, these magnified galaxies appear as distorted arcs. This work is published in The Astronomical Journal with lead author Kim-Vy Tran. She explains: Our goal with AGEL is to spectroscopically confirm around 100 strong gravitational lenses that can be observed from both the Northern and Southern hemispheres throughout the year.
Since telescopes are unevenly distributed around the world, this kind of positioning allows for continuous observations.
Galaxies can be lensed multiple times, and any flicker that can be observed in multiple lenses can tell us about the light path of each lensed galaxy… and about the changing geometry of our universe.
Here is to hoping this team has clear skies and time on big scopes to see this project succeed.
Science in Public press release
“The AGEL Survey: Spectroscopic Confirmation of Strong Gravitational Lenses in the DES and DECaLS Fields Selected Using Convolutional Neural Networks,” Kim-Vy H. Tran et al., 2022 September 26, The Astronomical Journal