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Astrophysics

Title: Colors of 2625 Quasars at 0<z<5 Measured in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Photometric System

Authors: Gordon T. Richards (1 and 2), Xiaohui Fan (3 and 4), Donald P. Schneider (1), Daniel E. Vanden Berk (5), Michael A. Strauss (3), Donald G. York (2), et al. (the SDSS Collaboration) ((1) Penn State, (2) Chicago, (3) Princeton, (4) IAS, (5) Fermilab)
Abstract: We present an empirical investigation of the colors of quasars in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) photometric system. The sample studied includes 2625 quasars with SDSS photometry. The quasars are distributed in a 2.5 degree wide stripe centered on the Celestial Equator covering $\sim529$ square degrees. Positions and SDSS magnitudes are given for the 898 quasars known prior to SDSS spectroscopic commissioning. New SDSS quasars represent an increase of over 200% in the number of known quasars in this area of the sky. The ensemble average of the observed colors of quasars in the SDSS passbands are well represented by a power-law continuum with $\alpha_{\nu} = -0.5$ ($f_{\nu} \propto \nu^{\alpha}$). However, the contributions of the $3000 {\rm \AA}$ bump and other strong emission lines have a significant effect upon the colors. The color-redshift relation exhibits considerable structure, which may be of use in determining photometric redshifts for quasars. The range of colors can be accounted for by a range in the optical spectral index with a distribution $\alpha_{\nu}=-0.5\pm0.65$ (95% confidence), but there is a red tail in the distribution. This tail may be a sign of internal reddening. Finally, we show that there is a continuum of properties between quasars and Seyfert galaxies and we test the validity of the traditional division between the two classes of AGN.
Comments: 66 pages, 15 figures (3 color), accepted by AJ
Subjects: Astrophysics (astro-ph)
Journal reference: Astron.J.121:2308,2001
DOI: 10.1086/320392
Cite as: arXiv:astro-ph/0012449
  (or arXiv:astro-ph/0012449v1 for this version)

Submission history

From: Gordon T. Richards [view email]
[v1] Wed, 20 Dec 2000 22:41:36 GMT (597kb)