The Longest Delay: A 14.5 yr Campaign to Determine the Third Time Delay in the Lensing Cluster SDSS J1004+4112
We present new light curves for the four bright images of the five image cluster-lensed quasar gravitational lens system SDSS J1004+4112. The light curves span 14.5 yr and allow the measurement of the time delay between the trailing bright quasar image D and the leading image C. When we fit all four light curves simultaneously and combine the models using the Bayesian information criterion, we find a time delay of Δt DC = 2458.47 ± 1.02 days (6.73 yr), the longest ever measured for a gravitational lens. For the other two independent time delays we obtain Δt BC = 782.20 ± 0.43 days (2.14 yr) and Δt AC = 825.23 ± 0.46 days (2.26 yr), in agreement with previous results. The information criterion is needed to weight the results for light curve models with different polynomial orders for the intrinsic variability and the effects of differential microlensing. The results using the Akaike information criterion are slightly different, but, in practice, the absolute delay errors are all dominated by the ∼4% cosmic variance in the delays rather than the statistical or systematic measurement uncertainties. Despite the lens being a cluster, the quasar images show slow differential variability due to microlensing at the level of a few tenths of a magnitude.