New quasar discovered by astronomers

September 19, 2017 by Tomasz Nowakowski, report
A flux and wavelength calibrated spectrum of SDSS J022155.26-064916.6 in the redshift frame (z = 0.806) with labeled emission lines. Credit: Robertson et al., 2017.

(—A team of astronomers led by Jacob M. Robertson of the Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee has detected a new quasi-stellar object (QSO). They found the new quasar, designated SDSS J022155.26-064916.6, as a result of an analysis of available spectroscopic data. The finding is reported in a paper published Sept. 10 on the arXiv pre-print server.

QSOs are active galactic nuclei of very high luminosity, emitting electromagnetic radiation observable in radio, infrared, visible, ultraviolet and X-ray wavelengths. They are among the brightest and most distant objects in the known universe, and serve as fundamental tools for numerous studies in astrophysics as well as cosmology. For instance, have been used to investigate the large-scale structure of the universe and the era of reionization. They also improved our understanding of the dynamics of and the intergalactic medium.

To date, astronomers have identified more than 200,000 quasars, most of them from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). SDSS is an imaging and spectroscopic redshift survey, which utilizes the 2.5-m wide-angle optical telescope at the Apache Point Observatory (APO) located in New Mexico. It is regarded as one of the most successful astronomical surveys, having produced the most detailed three-dimensional maps of the universe ever made.

Now, a group of researchers led by Robertson reports the discovery of another quasar from the SDSS data. They found that the object known as SDSS J022155.26-064916.6, which was initially imaged by SDSS and classified as a star with a cosmic ray hit, is in fact a quasar at redshift of about 0.8.

The discovery is the result of observations conducted by the team in December 2013 using APO's Dual-Imaging-Spectrograph (DIS) on the 3.5m ARC telescope. The true nature of this object was uncovered by reducing its spectrum, which was part of the program supporting photometric calibrations for the Dark Energy Survey (DES). DES is an international near-infrared . Its main goal is to probe the dynamics of the expansion of the universe and the growth of large-scale structures in search of important information about the mysterious phenomenon of dark energy.

"We report the discovery of a new quasar: SDSS J022155.26-064916.6. This object was discovered while reducing spectra of a sample of stars being considered as spectrophotometric standards for the Dark Energy Survey," the astronomers wrote in the paper.

According to the study, SDSS J022155.26-064916.6 has a luminosity of at least 19 trillion solar luminosities. The quasar's absolute magnitude was found to be about 28 and its luminosity distance was estimated to be approximately 16.7 billion light years away from the Earth.

The researchers also compared the properties of SDSS J022155.26-064916.6 to those of other quasars in SDSS's seventh major data release, known as Data Release 7 (DR 7). This comparison allowed them to conclude that the newly confirmed QSO does not differ much from other typical quasars reported in DR 7.

"We see that SDSS J022155.26-064916.6 is a fairly typical, moderately bright quasar," the astronomers concluded.

Explore further: The most metal-poor dwarf star-forming galaxy found

More information: Discovery of a New Quasar: SDSS J022155.26-064916.6, arXiv:1709.03166 [astro-ph.HE]

We report the discovery of a new quasar: SDSS J022155.26-064916.6. This object was discovered while reducing spectra of a sample of stars being considered as spectrophotometric standards for the Dark Energy Survey. The flux and wavelength calibrated spectrum is presented with four spectral lines identified. From these lines, the redshift is determined to be z is approximately equal to 0.806. In addition, the rest-frame u-, g-, and r-band luminosity, determined using a k-correction obtained with synthetic photometry of a proxy QSO, are reported as 7.496 ×1013 solar luminosities, 2.049 ×1013 solar luminosities, and 1.896×1013 solar luminosities, respectively.

Related Stories

The most metal-poor dwarf star-forming galaxy found

September 5, 2017

(—Using the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT), a group of astronomers has found that the star-forming galaxy (SFG) J0811+4730 is the most metal-poor dwarf SFG known to date. The finding is detailed in a paper published ...

High-redshift quasar discovered by Pan-STARRS

December 21, 2016

(—A new luminous high-redshift quasar has been detected by one of the telescopes of the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS). The newly discovered quasi-stellar object received designation ...

Astronomers discover 16 new high-redshift quasars

March 14, 2017

(—Using a new color selection technique, astronomers have detected 16 new luminous, high-redshift quasars. The discovery could be very important for understanding of the early universe, as such high-redshift, quasi-stellar ...

Astronomers detect dozens of new quasars and galaxies

April 25, 2017

(—A team of astronomers led by Yoshiki Matsuoka of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) has detected a treasure trove of new high-redshift quasars (or quasi-stellar objects) and luminous galaxies. ...

Recommended for you

Climbing the ladder to life detection

June 25, 2018

In the past two decades, NASA spacecraft have identified potentially habitable environments throughout the solar system and beyond. Spacecraft on Mars have found evidence that lakes and streams once covered the planet, protected ...

Planetary nebula lasers

June 25, 2018

Astronomical masers (the radio wavelength analogs of lasers) were first identified in space over fifty years ago and have since been seen in many locations; astronomical lasers have since been seen as well. Some of the most ...

HESS J1943+213 is an extreme blazar, study finds

June 21, 2018

An international group of astronomers have carried out multi-wavelength observations of HESS J1943+213 and found evidence supporting the hypothesis that this gamma-ray source is an extreme blazar. The finding is reported ...

The Rosetta stone of active galactic nuclei deciphered

June 21, 2018

A galaxy with at least one active supermassive black hole – named OJ 287 – has caused many irritations and questions in the past. The emitted radiation of this object spans a wide range – from the radio up to the highest ...

'Red nuggets' are galactic gold for astronomers

June 21, 2018

About a decade ago, astronomers discovered a population of small, but massive galaxies called "red nuggets." A new study using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory indicates that black holes have squelched star formation in these ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.