Investigation of the optical fields of flat-spectrum radio sources to faint limiting magnitudes
A deep optical survey of the fields of 16 flat-spectrum radio sources has been carried out using the Hale 5-m telescope, with a prototype charge-coupled device as a detector. These sources are members of a complete sample, selected as having S(2.7 GHz) > 1.5 Jy, and were either unidentified, or were identified with very faint objects on the prints of the Palomar Sky Survey. Identifications are found for 12 of these objects; six are galaxies and six are stellar objects. Identifications for the 2.7-GHz sample are therefore now 96 per cent complete, allowing much improved redshift distributions to be derived. Values of V/V_(max) for the sample members have also been calculated, with the result that 〈V/V_(max)〉 for the flat-spectrum quasars is 0.68, rather than the values nearer 0.5 derived from studies of deeper samples. This result indicates that both the steep-spectrum and flat-spectrum quasars undergo similar degrees of cosmological evolution.