Luminosity function from dedicated SDSS-III and MMT data of quasars in 0.7 < z < 4.0 selected with a new approach

N. Palanque-Delabrouille, Ch Magneville, Ch Yèche, S. Eftekharzadeh, A. D. Myers, P. Petitjean, I. Pâris, E. Aubourg, I. McGreer, X. Fan, A. Dey, D. Schlegel, S. Bailey, D. Bizayev, A. Bolton, K. Dawson, G. Ebelke, J. Ge, E. Malanushenko, V. MalanushenkoD. Oravetz, K. Pan, N. P. Ross, D. P. Schneider, E. Sheldon, A. Simmons, J. Tinker, M. White, Ch Willmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


We present a measurement of the quasar luminosity function in the range 0.68 < z < 4 down to extinction corrected magnitude gdered = 22.5, using a simple and well understood target selection technique based on the time-variability of quasars. The completeness of our sample was derived directly from a control sample of quasars, without requiring complex simulations of quasar light-curves or colors. A total of 1877 quasar spectra were obtained from dedicated programs on the Sloan telescope (as part of the SDSS-III/BOSS survey) and on the Multiple Mirror Telescope. They allowed us to derive the quasar luminosity function. It agrees well with results previously published in the redshift range 0.68 < z < 2.6. Our deeper data allow us to extend the measurement to z = 4. We measured quasar densities to gdered < 22.5, obtaining 30 QSO per deg2 at z < 1, 99 QSO per deg 2 for 1 < z < 2.15, and 47 QSO per deg2 at z > 2.15. Using pure luminosity evolution models, we fitted our LF measurements and predicted quasar number counts as a function of redshift and observed magnitude. These predictions are useful inputs for future cosmology surveys such as those relying on the observation of quasars to measure baryon acoustic oscillations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA29
JournalAstronomy and astrophysics
StatePublished - 2013


  • Dark energy
  • Quasars: general
  • Surveys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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