A Closer Look at Two of the Most Luminous Quasars in the Universe

Jan Torge Schindler, Xiaohui Fan, Mladen Novak, Bram Venemans, Fabian Walter, Feige Wang, Jinyi Yang, Minghao Yue, Eduardo Bañados, Yun Hsin Huang

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2 Scopus citations


Ultraluminous quasars (M 1450 ≤ -29) provide us with a rare view into the nature of the most massive and most rapidly accreting supermassive black holes (SMBHs). Following the discovery of two of these extreme sources, J0341+1720 (M 1450 = -29.56, z = 3.71) and J2125-1719 (M 1450 = -29.39, z = 3.90), in the Extremely Luminous Quasar Survey (ELQS) and its extension to the Pan-STARRS 1 footprint (PS-ELQS), we herein present an analysis of their rest-frame UV to optical spectroscopy. Both quasars harbor very massive SMBHs with M BH =6.73 - 0.83+0.75 × 10 9, M ⊙ and M BH = 5.45 -0.55 +0.60 × 10 9, M ⊙, respectively, showing evidence of accretion above the Eddington limit ( and ). NOEMA 3 millimeter observations of J0341+1720 reveal a highly star-forming (SFR ≈ 1500 M o˙ yr-1), ultraluminous infrared galaxy (L IR ≈ 1.0 1013 L o˙) host, which, based on an estimate of its dynamical mass, is only ∼30 times more massive than the SMBH it harbors at its center. As examples of luminous super-Eddington accretion, these two quasars provide support for theories that explain the existence of billion solar mass SMBHs ∼700 million years after the Big Bang by moderate super-Eddington growth from standard SMBH seeds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number12
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 29 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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