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Published December 1, 2013 | Published + Submitted
Journal Article Open

Dust Reddened Quasars in FIRST and UKIDSS: Beyond the Tip of the Iceberg


We present the results of a pilot survey to find dust-reddened quasars by matching the Faint Images of the Radio Sky at Twenty-Centimeters (FIRST) radio catalog to the UKIDSS near-infrared survey and using optical data from Sloan Digital Sky Survey to select objects with very red colors. The deep K-band limit provided by UKIDSS allows for finding more heavily reddened quasars at higher redshifts as compared with previous work using FIRST and Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS). We selected 87 candidates with K ≤ 17.0 from the UKIDSS Large Area Survey (LAS) First Data Release (DR1), which covers 190 deg^2. These candidates reach up to ~1.5 mag below the 2MASS limit and obey the color criteria developed to identify dust-reddened quasars. We have obtained 61 spectroscopic observations in the optical and/or near-infrared, as well as classifications in the literature, and have identified 14 reddened quasars with E(B – V) > 0.1, including 3 at z > 2. We study the infrared properties of the sample using photometry from the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer and find that infrared colors improve the efficiency of red quasar selection, removing many contaminants in an infrared-to-optical color-selected sample alone. The highest-redshift quasars (z ≳ 2) are only moderately reddened, with E(B – V) ~ 0.2-0.3. We find that the surface density of red quasars rises sharply with faintness, comprising up to 17% of blue quasars at the same apparent K-band flux limit. We estimate that to reach more heavily reddened quasars (i.e., E(B – V) ≳ 0.5) at z > 2 and a depth of K = 17, we would need to survey at least ~2.5 times more area.

Additional Information

© 2013 American Astronomical Society. Received 2012 December 21; accepted 2013 September 14; published 2013 November 12. We thank Nadia Lara, whose summer research project—-supported through the Caltech's FSRI program—helped with the candidate selection. E.G. is supported by an NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowship under award AST-0901994. S.G.D. acknowledges partial support from the NSF grant AST-0909182. We are grateful to the Palomar Observatory staff for their assistance during observing runs. We thank Yale University for support of SDSS-III participation. The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc. The UKIDSS project is defined in Lawrence et al. (2007). UKIDSS uses the UKIRT WFCAM (Casali et al. 2007). The photometric system is described in Hewett et al. (2006), and the calibration is described in Hodgkin et al. (2009). The pipeline processing and science archive are described in Hambly et al. (2008). Funding for the creation and distribution of the SDSS Archive has been provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Participating Institutions, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Energy, the Japanese Monbukagakusho, and the Max Planck Society. The SDSS Web site is http://www.sdss.org/. The SDSS is managed by the Astrophysical Research Consortium (ARC) for the Participating Institutions. The Participating Institutions are The University of Chicago, Fermilab, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Japan Participation Group, The Johns Hopkins University, the Korean Scientist Group, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Max-Planck-Institute for Astronomy (MPIA), the Max-Planck-Institute for Astrophysics (MPA), New Mexico State University, University of Pittsburgh, University of Portsmouth, Princeton University, the United States Naval Observatory, and the University of Washington. Funding for SDSS-III has been provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Participating Institutions, the National Science Foundation, and the US Department of Energy Office of Science. The SDSS-III Web site is http://www.sdss3.org/. SDSS-III is managed by the Astrophysical Research Consortium for the Participating Institutions of the SDSS-III Collaboration including the University of Arizona, the Brazilian Participation Group, Brookhaven National Laboratory, University of Cambridge, University of Florida, the French Participation Group, the German Participation Group, the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias, the Michigan State/Notre Dame/JINA Participation Group, Johns Hopkins University, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, New Mexico State University, New York University, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Portsmouth, Princeton University, the Spanish Participation Group, University of Tokyo, University of Utah, Vanderbilt University, University of Virginia, University of Washington, and Yale University. This publication makes use of data products from the Two Micron All Sky Survey, which is a joint project of the University of Massachusetts and the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center/California Institute of Technology, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation. Facilities: Sloan, VLA, Hale (TripleSpec)

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Published - 0004-637X_778_2_127.pdf

Submitted - 1309.6626v1.pdf


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