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Astrophysics

Title: Red and Reddened Quasars in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey

Abstract: We investigate the continuum and emission line properties of 4576 SDSS quasars as a function of their optical/UV SEDs. The optical/UV color distribution of our sample is roughly Gaussian, but with a red tail; we distinguish between 1) intrinsically blue (optically flat) quasars, 2) intrinsically red (optically steep) quasars, and 3) the 273 (6%) of our quasars whose continua are inconsistent with a single power-law and appear redder due to SMC-like dust reddening rather than synchrotron emission. The color distribution suggests that the population of moderately dust reddened broad-line quasars is smaller than that of unobscured quasars, but we estimate that a further 10% of the luminous quasar population is missing from the SDSS sample because of dust extinction with E(B-V)<0.5. We also investigate the emission and absorption line properties of these quasars as a function of color with regard to Boroson & Green type eigenvectors. Intrinsically red (optically steep) quasars tend to have narrower Balmer lines and weaker CIV, CIII], HeII and 3000A bump emission as compared with bluer (optically flatter) quasars. The change in strength of the 3000A bump appears to be dominated by the Balmer continuum and not by FeII emission. The dust reddened quasars have even narrower Balmer lines and weaker 3000A bumps, in addition to having considerably larger equivalent widths of [OII] and [OIII] emission. The fraction of broad absorption line quasars (BALQSOs) increases from ~3.4% for the bluest quasars to perhaps as large as 20% for the dust reddened quasars, but the intrinsic color distribution is affected by dust reddening. (abridged)
Comments: 37 pages, 10 figures (3 color), 2 tables, accepted by AJ. For a version with higher quality figures, see this ftp URL
Subjects: Astrophysics (astro-ph)
Journal reference: Astron.J. 126 (2003) 1131
DOI: 10.1086/377014
Cite as: arXiv:astro-ph/0305305
  (or arXiv:astro-ph/0305305v1 for this version)

Submission history

From: Gordon T. Richards [view email]
[v1] Fri, 16 May 2003 15:29:03 GMT (285kb)