Physical Properties of 15 Quasars at z ≳ 6.5

C. Mazzucchelli, E. Bañados, B. P. Venemans, R. Decarli, E. P. Farina, F. Walter, A. C. Eilers, H. W. Rix, R. Simcoe, D. Stern, X. Fan, E. Schlafly, G. De Rosa, J. Hennawi, K. C. Chambers, J. Greiner, W. Burgett, P. W. Draper, N. Kaiser, R. P. KudritzkiE. Magnier, N. Metcalfe, C. Waters, R. J. Wainscoat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

221 Scopus citations


Quasars are galaxies hosting accreting supermassive black holes; due to their brightness, they are unique probes of the early universe. To date, only a few quasars have been reported at z > 6.5 (<800Myr after the big bang). In this work, we present six additional z ≳ 6.5 quasars discovered using the Pan-STARRS1 survey. We use a sample of 15 z ≳ 6.5 quasars to perform a homogeneous and comprehensive analysis of this highest-redshift quasar population. We report four main results: (1) the majority of z ≳ 6.5 quasars show large blueshifts of the broad C IV λ1549 emission line compared to the systemic redshift of the quasars, with a median value ∼3× higher than a quasar sample at z ∼ 1; (2) we estimate the quasars black hole masses (MBH ∼(0.3-5) × 109 M) via modeling of the Mg II λ2798 emission line and rest-frame UV continuum and find that quasars at high redshift accrete their material (with 〈(Lbol LEdd)〉 = 0.39) at a rate comparable to a luminosity-matched sample at lower redshift, albeit with significant scatter (0.4 dex); (3) we recover no evolution of the Fe II/Mg II abundance ratio with cosmic time; and (4) we derive near-zone sizes and, together with measurements for z ∼ 6 quasars from recent work, confirm a shallow evolution of the decreasing quasar near-zone sizes with redshift. Finally, we present new millimeter observations of the [C II] 158 μm emission line and underlying dust continuum from NOEMA for four quasars and provide new accurate redshifts and [C II]/infrared luminosity estimates. The analysis presented here shows the large range of properties of the most distant quasars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number91
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 10 2017


  • galaxies: high-redshift
  • quasars: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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