We report the discovery of a gravitationally lensed quasar identified serendipitously in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). The object, SDSS J094604.90+183541.8, was initially targeted for spectroscopy as a luminous red galaxy, but the SDSS spectrum has the features of both a z = 0.388 galaxy and a z = 4.8 quasar. We have obtained additional imaging that resolves the system into two quasar images separated by 3'.'06 and a bright galaxy that is strongly blended with one of the quasar images. We confirm spectroscopically that the two quasar images represent a single-lensed source at z = 4.8 with a total magnification of 3.2, and we derive a model for the lensing galaxy. This is the highest redshift lensed quasar currently known. We examine the issues surrounding the selection of such an unusual object from existing data and briefly discuss implications for lensed quasar surveys.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science