Probing the structure of the lensed quasar SDSS J1004+4112 through microlensing analysis of spectroscopic data

C. Fian, J. A. Muñoz, R. Forés-Toribio, E. Mediavilla, J. Jiménez-Vicente, D. Chelouche, S. Kaspi, G. T. Richards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims. We aim to reveal the sizes of the continuum and broad emission line (BEL) emitting regions in the gravitationally lensed quasar SDSS J1004+4112 by analyzing the unique signatures of microlensing in this system. Through a comprehensive analysis of 20 spectroscopic observations acquired between 2003 and 2018, we studied the striking deformations of various BEL profiles and determined the sizes of their respective emitting regions. Methods. Our approach involves a detailed analysis of the magnitude differences in the BEL wings and their adjacent continua, and the implementation of a statistical model to quantify the distribution and impact of microlensing magnifications. To ensure a reliable baseline for no microlensing, we used the emission line cores as a reference. We then applied a Bayesian estimate to derive the size lower limits of the Lyα, Si IV, C IV, C III], and Mg II emitting regions, as well as the sizes of the underlying continuum-emitting sources. Results. We analyzed the outstanding microlensing-induced distortions in the line profiles of various BELs in the quasar image A, characterized by a prominent magnification of the blue part and a strong demagnification of the red part. From the statistics of microlensing magnifications and using Bayesian methods, we estimate the lower limit to the overall size of the regions emitting the BELs to be a few light-days across, which is significantly smaller than in typically lensed quasars. The asymmetric deformations in the BELs indicate that the broad-line region is generally not spherically symmetric, and is likely confined to a plane and following the motions of the accretion disk. Additionally, the inferred continuum-emitting region sizes are larger than predictions based on standard thin-disk theory by a factor of ~4;3.6 on average. The size-wavelength relation is consistent with that of a geometrically thin and optically thick accretion disk.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA57
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

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  • Gravitational lensing: micro
  • Gravitational lensing: strong
  • Quasars: emission lines
  • Quasars: general
  • Quasars: individual: SDSS J1004+4112

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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