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Astrophysics, Relativity, and Cosmology Seminar - Liang Dai (UC Berkeley) "Stars under Einstein’s microscope: strong gravitational lensing near caustics"

Event Type
Department of Physics
Loomis Lab 464
wifi event
Apr 10, 2024   12:00 pm  
Liang Dai
Deanna Frye
Originating Calendar
Physics - Astrophysics, Relativity, and Cosmology Seminar

Rich clusters of galaxies are the largest gravitational magnifiers in the Universe. One of the most interesting gravitational lensing phenomena arises when background galaxies overlap with the lensing caustics cast by the galaxy cluster lens such that a portion of it is tremendously magnified by hundreds to even thousands fold. As a result, Nature’s most luminous classes of stars have been individually or collectively detected by space telescopes. Quantitatively studying their behavior will enable us to probe a hierarchy of fine mass structures inside the lens: from star-free sub-galactic cold dark matter halos, to intracluster stars, and to even minuscule dark matter clumps predicted in many of the particle physics models of the dark matter. I will talk about what we have theoretically understood about the extremely magnified stars, what latest observational advances there are, and what novel constraints on dark matter micro-structures can be derived.

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