Creating images by adding masses to gravitational point lenses

  • Olivier Sète
  • Robert LuceEmail author
  • Jörg Liesen
Editor's Choice (Letter)


A well-studied maximal gravitational point lens construction of S. H. Rhie produces \(5n\) images of a light source using \(n+1\) deflector masses. The construction arises from a circular, symmetric deflector configuration on \(n\) masses (producing only \(3n+1\) images) by adding a tiny mass in the center of the other mass positions (and reducing all the other masses a little bit). In a recent paper we studied this “image creating effect” from a purely mathematical point of view (Sète, Luce & Liesen, Comput. Methods Funct. Theory 15(1), 2014). Here we discuss a few consequences of our findings for gravitational microlensing models. We present a complete characterization of the effect of adding small masses to these point lens models, with respect to the number of images. In particular, we give several examples of maximal lensing models that are different from Rhie’s construction and that do not share its highly symmetric appearance. We give generally applicable conditions that allow the construction of maximal point lenses on \(n+1\) masses from maximal lenses on \(n\) masses.


Gravitational lenses Multiple images Maximal lensing 



We are grateful to the anonymous referee for reading the manuscript and providing us with useful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.TU Berlin, MA 4-5BerlinGermany

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