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  1. Abstract

    Strong lensing offers a precious opportunity for studying the formation and early evolution of super star clusters that are rare in our cosmic backyard. The Sunburst Arc, a lensed Cosmic Noon galaxy, hosts a young super star cluster with escaping Lyman continuum radiation. Analyzing archival Hubble Space Telescope images and emission line data from Very Large Telescope/MUSE and X-shooter, we construct a physical model for the cluster and its surrounding photoionized nebula. We confirm that the cluster is ≲4 Myr old, is extremely massiveM∼ 107M, and yet has a central component as compact as several parsecs, and we find a gas-phase metallicityZ= (0.22 ± 0.03)Z. The cluster is surrounded by ≳105Mof dense clouds that have been pressurized toP∼ 109K cm−3by perhaps stellar radiation at within 10 pc. These should have large neutral columnsNHI> 1022.8cm−2to survive rapid ejection by radiation pressure. The clouds are likely dusty as they show gas-phase depletion of silicon, and may be conducive to secondary star formation ifNHI> 1024cm−2or if they sink farther toward the cluster center. Detecting strong [Niii]λλ1750,1752, we infer heavy nitrogen enrichmentlog(N/O)=0.210.11+0.10. This requires efficiently retaining ≳500Mof nitrogen in the high-pressure clouds from massive stars heavier than 60Mup to 4 Myr. We suggest a physical origin of the high-pressure clouds from partial or complete condensation of slow massive star ejecta, which may have an important implication for the puzzle of multiple stellar populations in globular clusters.

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  2. In this work, we present a constraint on the abundance of supergiant (SG) stars at redshiftz ≈ 1, based on recent observations of a strongly lensed arc at this redshift. First we derived a free-form model of MACS J0416.1-2403 using data from the Beyond Ultra-deep Frontier Fields and Legacy Observations (BUFFALO) program. The new lens model is based on 72 multiply lensed galaxies that produce 214 multiple images, making it the largest sample of spectroscopically confirmed lensed galaxies on this cluster. The larger coverage in BUFFALO allowed us to measure the shear up to the outskirts of the cluster, and extend the range of lensing constraints up to ∼1 Mpc from the central region, providing a mass estimate up to this radius. As an application, we make predictions for the number of high-redshift multiply lensed galaxies detected in future observations with theJames WebbSpace Telescope (JWST). Then we focus on a previously known lensed galaxy atz = 1.0054, nicknamed Spock, which contains four previously reported transients. We interpret these transients as microcaustic crossings of SG stars and explain how we computed the probability of such events. Based on simplifications regarding the stellar evolution, we find that microlensing (by stars in the intracluster medium) of SG stars atz = 1.0054 can fully explain these events. The inferred abundance of SG stars is consistent with either (1) a number density of stars with bolometric luminosities beyond the Humphreys-Davidson (HD) limit (Lmax ≈ 6 × 105Lfor red stars), which is below ∼400 stars kpc−2, or (2) the absence of stars beyond the HD limit but with a SG number density of ∼9000 kpc−2for stars with luminosities between 105Land 6 × 105L. This is equivalent to one SG star per 10 × 10 pc2. Finally, we make predictions for future observations with JWST’s NIRcam. We find that in observations made with theF200Wfilter that reach 29 mag AB, if cool red SG stars exist atz ≈ 1 beyond the HD limit, they should be easily detected in this arc.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2025
  3. Abstract

    We report the discovery of an extremely magnified star at redshiftz= 2.65 in the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) NIRISS pre-imaging of the A2744 galaxy-cluster field. The star’s background host galaxy lies on a fold caustic of the foreground lens, and the cluster creates a pair of images of the region close to the lensed star. We identified the bright transient in one of the merging images at a distance of ∼0.″15 from the critical curve by subtracting the JWST F115W and F150W imaging from coadditions of archival Hubble Space Telescope (HST) F105W and F125W images and F140W and F160W images, respectively. Since the time delay between the two images should be only hours, the transient must be the microlensing event of an individual star, as opposed to a luminous stellar explosion that would persist for days to months. Analysis of individual exposures suggests that the star’s magnification is not changing rapidly during the observations. From photometry of the point source through the F115W, F150W, and F200W filters, we identify a strong Balmer break, and modeling allows us to constrain the star’s temperature to be approximately 7000–12,000 K.

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  4. Abstract

    The first deep field images from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) of the galaxy cluster SMACS J0723.3-7327 reveal a wealth of new lensed images at uncharted infrared wavelengths, with unprecedented depth and resolution. Here we securely identify 14 new sets of multiply imaged galaxies totaling 42 images, adding to the five sets of bright and multiply imaged galaxies already known from Hubble Space Telescope data. We find examples of arcs crossing critical curves, allowing detailed community follow-up, such as JWST spectroscopy for precise redshift determinations, and measurements of the chemical abundances and of the detailed internal gas dynamics of very distant, young galaxies. One such arc contains a pair of compact knots that are magnified by a factor of hundreds, and features a microlensed transient. We also detect an Einstein cross candidate only visible thanks to JWST’s superb resolution. Our parametric lens model is available through the following link ( and will be regularly updated using additional spectroscopic redshifts. The model is constrained by 16 of these sets of multiply imaged galaxies, three of which have spectroscopic redshifts, and reproduces the multiple images to better than an rms of 0.″5, allowing for accurate magnification estimates of high-redshift galaxies. The intracluster light extends beyond the cluster members, exhibiting large-scale features that suggest a significant past dynamical disturbance. This work represents a first taste of the enhanced power JWST will have for lensing-related science.

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  5. Abstract

    We present a detailed study of the Planck-selected binary galaxy cluster PLCK G165.7+67.0 (G165;z= 0.348). A multiband photometric catalog is generated incorporating new imaging from the Large Binocular Telescope/Large Binocular Camera and Spitzer/IRAC to existing imaging. To cope with the different image characteristics, robust methods are applied in the extraction of the matched-aperture photometry. Photometric redshifts are estimated for 143 galaxies in the 4 arcmin2field of overlap covered by these data. We confirm that strong-lensing effects yield 30 images of 11 background galaxies, of which we contribute new photometric redshift estimates for three image multiplicities. These constraints enable the construction of a revised lens model with a total mass ofM600 kpc= (2.36 ± 0.23) × 1014M. In parallel, new spectroscopy using MMT/Binospec and archival data contributes thirteen galaxies that meet our velocity and transverse radius criteria for cluster membership. The two cluster components have a pair-wise velocity of ≲100 km s−1, favoring an orientation in the plane of the sky with a transverse velocity of 100–1700 km s−1. At the same time, the brightest cluster galaxy (BCG) is offset in velocity from the systemic mean value, suggesting dynamical disturbance. New LOFAR and Very Large Array data uncover head-tail radio galaxies in the BCG and a large red galaxy in the northeast component. From the orientation and alignment of the four radio trails, we infer that the two cluster components have already traversed each other, and are now exiting the cluster.

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  6. Abstract We give an overview and describe the rationale, methods, and first results from NIRCam images of the JWST “Prime Extragalactic Areas for Reionization and Lensing Science” (PEARLS) project. PEARLS uses up to eight NIRCam filters to survey several prime extragalactic survey areas: two fields at the North Ecliptic Pole (NEP); seven gravitationally lensing clusters; two high redshift protoclusters; and the iconic backlit VV 191 galaxy system to map its dust attenuation. PEARLS also includes NIRISS spectra for one of the NEP fields and NIRSpec spectra of two high-redshift quasars. The main goal of PEARLS is to study the epoch of galaxy assembly, active galactic nucleus (AGN) growth, and First Light. Five fields—the JWST NEP Time-Domain Field (TDF), IRAC Dark Field, and three lensing clusters—will be observed in up to four epochs over a year. The cadence and sensitivity of the imaging data are ideally suited to find faint variable objects such as weak AGN, high-redshift supernovae, and cluster caustic transits. Both NEP fields have sightlines through our Galaxy, providing significant numbers of very faint brown dwarfs whose proper motions can be studied. Observations from the first spoke in the NEP TDF are public. This paper presents our first PEARLS observations, their NIRCam data reduction and analysis, our first object catalogs, the 0.9–4.5 μ m galaxy counts and Integrated Galaxy Light. We assess the JWST sky brightness in 13 NIRCam filters, yielding our first constraints to diffuse light at 0.9–4.5 μ m. PEARLS is designed to be of lasting benefit to the community. 
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