Revealing the structure of the lensed quasar Q 0957+561: III. Constraints on the size of the broad-line region

C. Fian*, J. A. Muñoz, E. Mediavilla, J. Jiménez-Vicente, V. Motta, D. Chelouche, A. Wurzer, A. Hanslmeier, K. Rojas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Downloads (Pure)


Aims: Our aim is to examine the size, kinematics, and geometry of the broad-line region (BLR) in the double-lensed quasar Q 0957+561 by analyzing the impact of microlensing on various rest-frame ultraviolet broad-emission lines (BELs). 

Methods: We explore the influence of intrinsic variability and microlensing on the C IV, C III], and Mg II emission lines through multiple spectroscopic observations taken between April 1999 and January 2017. By utilizing the line cores as a reference for no microlensing and correcting for the long time delay between the images, we estimate the sizes of the regions emitting the broad-line wings using a Bayesian approach. 

Results: Our study of the microlensing amplitudes between the lensed images of the quasar Q 0957+561 reveals differing sizes of the regions emitting the three prominent BELs C IV, C III], and Mg II. The strength of the differential microlensing indicates that the high-ionization line C IV arises from a compact inner region of the BLR with a half-light radius of R1/2≳ 16.0 lt-days, which represents a lower limit on the overall size of the BLR and is comparable to the size of the region emitting the r-band continuum in this system. A somewhat larger size of R1/2≳ 44 lt-days is obtained for the semi-forbidden line C III]. Microlensing has a weak impact on the lower-ionization line Mg II, which is emitted from a region with a half-light radius of R1/2≳ 50 lt-days. These findings suggest that the BEL regions may have distinct geometries and kinematics, with the more extended ones being spherically symmetric, and the most compact ones being nonspherical, with motions likely confined to a plane.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA108
Number of pages7
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • gravitational lensing: micro
  • quasars: emission lines
  • quasars: individual: Q 0957+561

Cite this