Indexed on: 27 Oct '11Published on: 27 Oct '11Published in: Mathematics - Geometric Topology
Let $\Gamma$ be a finite-index subgroup of the mapping class group of a closed genus $g$ surface that contains the Torelli group. For instance, $\Gamma$ can be the level $L$ subgroup or the spin mapping class group. We show that $H_2(\Gamma;\Q) \cong \Q$ for $g \geq 5$. A corollary of this is that the rational Picard groups of the associated finite covers of the moduli space of curves are equal to $\Q$. We also prove analogous results for surface with punctures and boundary components.