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Patrick Kelly

Deja Vu All Over Again: The Reappearance of Supernova Refsdal
Kelly et al., Astrophysical Journal Letters (2016)

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In Hubble Space Telescope (HST) imaging taken on 2014 November 10, four images of supernova (SN) “Refsdal” (redshift z = 1.49) appeared in an Einstein-cross-like configuration (images S1-S4) around an early-type galaxy in the cluster MACS J1149.5+2223 (z = 0.54). Almost all lens models of the cluster have predicted that the SN should reappear within a year in a second host-galaxy image created by the cluster’s potential. In HST observations taken on 2015 December 11, we find a new source at the predicted position of the new image of SN Refsdal approximately 8\prime\prime from the previous images S1-S4. This marks the first time the appearance of a SN at a particular time and location in the sky was successfully predicted in advance! We use these data and the light curve from the first four observed images of SN Refsdal to place constraints on the relative time delay and magnification of the new image (SX) compared to images S1-S4. This enables us, for the first time, to test “blind” lens model predictions of both magnifications and time delays for a lensed SN. We find that the timing and brightness of the new image are consistent with the blind predictions of a fraction of the models. The reappearance illustrates the discriminatory power of this blind test and its utility to uncover sources of systematic uncertainty. From planned HST photometry, we expect to reach a precision of 1%-2% on the time delay between S1-S4 and SX.