Discovery of eight z ∼ 6 quasars from Pan-STARRS1

E. Bañados, B. P. Venemans, E. Morganson, R. Decarli, F. Walter, K. C. Chambers, H. W. Rix, E. P. Farina, X. Fan, L. Jiang, I. McGreer, G. De Rosa, R. Simcoe, A. Weiß, P. A. Price, J. S. Morgan, W. S. Burgett, J. Greiner, N. Kaiser, R. P. KudritzkiE. A. Magnier, N. Metcalfe, C. W. Stubbs, W. Sweeney, J. L. Tonry, R. J. Wainscoat, C. Waters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


High-redshift quasars are currently the only probes of the growth of supermassive black holes and potential tracers of structure evolution at early cosmic time. Here we present our candidate selection criteria from the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System 1 and follow-up strategy to discover quasars in the redshift range 5.7 ≲ z ≲ 6.2. With this strategy we discovered eight new 5.7 ≤ z ≤ 6.0 quasars, increasing the number of known quasars at z > 5.7 by more than 10%. We additionally recovered 18 previously known quasars. The eight quasars presented here span a large range of luminosities (-27.3 ≤ M1450 ≤ -25.4; 19.6 ≤ zP1 ≤ 21.2) and are remarkably heterogeneous in their spectral features: half of them show bright emission lines whereas the other half show a weak or no Lyα emission line (25% with rest-frame equivalent width of the Lyα +N V line lower than 15 Å). We find a larger fraction of weak-line emission quasars than in lower redshift studies. This may imply that the weak-line quasar population at the highest redshifts could be more abundant than previously thought. However, larger samples of quasars are needed to increase the statistical significance of this finding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number14
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • cosmology: observations
  • quasars: emission lines
  • quasars: general
  • surveys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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