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Open Access Publications from the University of California

First Discoveries of z > 6 Quasars with the DECam Legacy Survey and UKIRT Hemisphere Survey

  • Author(s): Wang, F
  • Fan, X
  • Yang, J
  • Wu, XB
  • Yang, Q
  • Bian, F
  • McGreer, ID
  • Li, JT
  • Li, Z
  • Ding, J
  • Dey, A
  • Dye, S
  • Findlay, JR
  • Green, R
  • James, D
  • Jiang, L
  • Lang, D
  • Lawrence, A
  • Myers, AD
  • Ross, NP
  • Schlegel, DJ
  • Shanks, T
  • et al.

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© 2017. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. We present the first discoveries from a survey of z ≳ 6 quasars using imaging data from the DECam Legacy Survey (DECaLS) in the optical, the UKIRT Deep Infrared Sky Survey (UKIDSS) and a preliminary version of the UKIRT Hemisphere Survey (UHS) in the near-IR, and ALLWISE in the mid-IR. DECaLS will image 9000 deg2 of sky down to z AB ∼ 23.0, and UKIDSS and UHS will map the northern sky at 0 < decl. < +607deg;, reaching J VEGA ∼ 19.6 (5-σ). The combination of these data sets allows us to discover quasars at redshift z ≳ 7 and to conduct a complete census of the faint quasar population at z ≳ 6. In this paper, we report on the selection method of our search, and on the initial discoveries of two new, faint z ≳ 6 quasars and one new z = 6.63 quasar in our pilot spectroscopic observations. The two new z ∼ 6 quasars are at z = 6.07 and z = 6.17 with absolute magnitudes at rest-frame wavelength 1450 Å being M 1450 = -25.83 and M 1450 = -25.76, respectively. These discoveries suggest that we can find quasars close to or fainter than the break magnitude of the Quasar Luminosity Function (QLF) at z ≳ 6. The new z = 6.63 quasar has an absolute magnitude of M 1450 = -25.95. This demonstrates the potential of using the combined DECaLS and UKIDSS/UHS data sets to find z ≳ 7 quasars. Extrapolating from previous QLF measurements, we predict that these combined data sets will yield ∼200 z ∼ 6 quasars to z AB < 21.5, ∼1000 z ∼ 6 quasars to z AB < 23, and ∼30 quasars at z > 6.5 to J VEGA < 19.5.

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