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Published February 2018 | Accepted Version + Published
Journal Article Open

The WISE AGN Catalog


We present two large catalogs of active galactic nucleus (AGN) candidates identified across 30,093 deg^2 of extragalactic sky from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer's AllWISE Data Release. Both catalogs are selected purely using the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) W1 and W2 bands. The R90 catalog consists of 4,543,530 AGN candidates with 90% reliability, while the C75 catalog consists of 20,907,127 AGN candidates with 75% completeness. These reliability and completeness figures were determined from a detailed analysis of UV- to near-IR spectral energy distributions of ~ 10^5 sources in the 9 deg^2 Boötes field. The AGN selection criteria are based on those of Assef et al. (2013) recalibrated to the AllWISE data release. We provide a detailed discussion of potential artifacts and excise portions of the sky close to the Galactic Center, Galactic Plane, nearby galaxies, and other expected contaminating sources. These catalogs are expected to enable a broad range of science, and we present a few illustrative cases. From the R90 sample, we identify 45 highly variable AGNs lacking radio counterparts in the FIRST survey. One of these sources, WISEA J142846.71+172353.1, is a changing-look quasar at z = 0.104, which has changed from having broad Hα to being a narrow-lined AGN. We characterize our catalogs by comparing them to large, wide-area AGN catalogs in the literature. We identify four ROSAT X-ray sources that are each matched to three WISE-selected AGNs in the R90 sample within 30''. Spectroscopy reveals that one of these systems, 2RXS J150158.6+691029, consists of a triplet of quasars at z = 1.133 ± 0.004, suggestive of a rich group or forming galaxy cluster.

Additional Information

© 2018. The American Astronomical Society. Received 2017 June 27; revised 2017 November 27; accepted 2017 November 28; published 2018 January 25. We thank Mislav Baloković Felix Fürst, Brian Greffenstette, Nikita Kamraj, George Lansbury, Sean Pike, and Yanjun Xu for assisting with the Palomar and Keck observations. We also thank Murray Brightman, Matthew Graham, Christopher S. Kochanek, and George Djorgovski for helpful discussions that helped improve the paper. We also thank the anonymous referee for useful comments and suggestions. Some of the results in this paper have been derived using the HEALPix (Górski et al. 2005) package. R.J.A. was supported by FONDECYT grant number 1151408. H.J. is supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (NRF-2017R1A6A3A04005158). This research has made use of the NASA/IPAC Infrared Science Archive, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. This publication makes use of data products from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, which is a joint project of the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology, and NEOWISE, which is a project of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology. WISE and NEOWISE are funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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Published - Assef_2018_ApJS_234_23.pdf

Accepted Version - 1706.09901.pdf


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August 21, 2023
October 18, 2023