A hubble space telescope WFPC2 snapshot survey of 2MASS-selected red QSOs

Andrew R. Marble, Dean C. Hikes, Gary D. Schmidt, Paul S. Smith, Jason A. Surace, Lee Armus, Roc M. Cutri, Brant O. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Using simple infrared color selection, the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS) has found a large number of red, previously unidentified, radio-quiet quasi-stellar objects (QSOs). Although missed by UV/optical surveys, the 2MASS QSOs have Ks-band luminosities that are comparable to "classical" QSOs. This suggests the possible discovery of a previously predicted large population of dust-obscured radio-quiet QSOs. We present the results of an imaging survey of 29 2MASS QSOs observed with the Wide-Field Planetary Camera 2 on board the Hubble Space Telescope, I-band images, which benefit from the relative faintness of the nuclei at optical wavelengths, are used to characterize the host galaxies, measure the nuclear contribution to the total observed I-band emission, and survey the surrounding environments. The 2MASS QSOs are found to lie in galaxies with a variety of morphologies, luminosities, and dynamical states, not unlike those hosting radio-quiet Palomar-Green QSOs. Our analysis suggests that the extraordinary red colors of the 2MASS QSOs are caused by extinction of an otherwise typical QSO spectrum due to dust near the nucleus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)707-729
Number of pages23
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - Jun 20 2003


  • Dust, extinction
  • Galaxies: active
  • Galaxies: interactions
  • Quasars: general
  • Surveys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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