The BL Lacertae object PKS 1413+135: Is it within or behind a spiral galaxy?

John T. Stocke, Ron Wurtz, Qingde Wang, Richard Elston, Buell T. Jannuzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


New observations of the very red quasar or BL Lac object PKS 1413+135 are presented. Optical imaging and spectroscopy confirm the claim that the host galaxy to this BL Lac is a spiral, and H-band imaging shows the point source centered in the galaxy to within 0″.1 A reanalysis of Einstein X-ray data finds evidence for an extremely large column density in this source of n(H) ≥ 2 × 1022 cm2. The Av ≥ 30 mag suggested by this n(H) can produce the unusual near-IR exponential decline in the spectrum of PKS 1413+135, at variance with previous interpretations. While the astrometric evidence supports the hypothesis that PKS 1413+135 is the very unusual case of a BL Lac object in a spiral galaxy, a highly extincted nuclear source would produce other observable features in this galaxy that are not observed: narrow emission-line region and large thermal IR flux. Their absence argues for this source being background to the spiral.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L17-L20
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART 2
StatePublished - Nov 20 1992


  • BL Lacertae objects: general
  • Galaxies: ISM
  • Gravitational lensing
  • Polarization
  • X-rays: galaxies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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