Vol 10, No 8 (2010) / Wu

A very bright (i = 16.44) quasar in the ‘redshift desert’ discovered by the Guoshoujing Telescope (LAMOST)

Xue-Bing Wu, Zhao-Yu Chen, Zhen-Dong Jia, Wen-Wen Zuo, Yong-Heng Zhao, A-Li Luo, Zhong-Rui Bai, Jian-Jun Chen, Hao-Tong Zhang, Hong-Liang Yan, Juan-Juan Ren, Shi-Wei Sun, Hong Wu, Yong Zhang, Ye-Ping Li, Qi-Shuai Lu, You Wang, Ji-Jun Ni, Hai Wang, Xu Kong, Shi-Yin Shen


The redshift range from 2.2 to 3 is known as the ‘redshift desert’ of quasars because quasars with redshifts in this range have similar optical colors as normal stars and are thus difficult to find in optical sky surveys. A quasar candidate, SDSS J085543.40–001517.7, which was selected by a recently proposed criterion involving near-IR Y − K and optical g − z colors, was identified spectroscopically as a new quasar with a redshift of 2.427 by the Guoshoujing Telescope (LAMOST) commis sioning observation in 2009 December and confirmed by the observation made with the NAOC/Xinglong 2.16 m telescope in 2010 March. This quasar was not identified in the SDSS spectroscopic survey. Comparing with other SDSS quasars, we found that this new quasar, with an i magnitude of 16.44, is apparently the brightest one in the redshift range from 2.3 to 2.7. From its spectral properties, we derived its central black hole mass to be (1.4 ∼ 3.9) × 1010M and its bolometric luminosity to be 3.7 × 1048 erg s−1, which indicates that this new quasar is intrinsically very bright and belongs to the class of the most luminous quasars in the universe. Our identification supports the notion that quasars in the redshift desert can be found by the quasar selection criterion involving the near-IR colors. More missing quasars are expected to be uncovered by future LAMOST spectroscopic surveys, which is important to the study of the cosmological evolution of quasars at redshifts higher than 2.2.


quasars: general — quasars: emission lines — galaxies: active

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