The FIRST Bright Quasar Survey. II. 60 nights and 1200 spectra later

Richard L. White, Robert H. Becker, Michael D. Gregg, Sally A. Laurent-Muehleisen, Michael S. Brotherton, Chris D. Impey, Catherine E. Petry, Craig B. Foltz, Frederic H. Chaffee, Gordon T. Richards, William R. Oegerle, David J. Helfand, Richard G. McMahon, Juan E. Cabanela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

271 Scopus citations


We have used the Very Large Array (VLA) FIRST survey and the Automated Plate Measuring Facility (APM) catalog of the Palomar Observatory Sky Survey I (POSS-I) plates as the basis for constructing a new radio-selected sample of optically bright quasars. This is the first radio-selected sample that is competitive in size with current optically selected quasar surveys. Using only two basic criteria, radio-optical positional coincidence and optical morphology, quasars and BL Lac objects can be identified with 60% selection efficiency; the efficiency increases to 70% for objects fainter than 17 mag. We show that a more sophisticated selection scheme can predict with better than 85% reliability which candidates will turn out to be quasars. This paper presents the second installment of the FIRST Bright Quasar Survey (FBQS), with a catalog of 636 quasars distributed over 2682 deg2. The quasar sample is characterized and all spectra are displayed. The FBQS detects both radio-loud and radio-quiet quasars out to redshift z > 3. We find a large population of objects of intermediate radio loudness; there is no evidence in our sample for a bimodal distribution of radio characteristics. The sample includes ∼29 broad absorption line quasars, both high and low ionization, and a number of new objects with remarkable optical spectra.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-207
Number of pages75
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2000


  • BL Lacertae objects: general
  • Galaxies: active
  • Galaxies: starburst
  • Quasars : general
  • Radio continuum : galaxies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'The FIRST Bright Quasar Survey. II. 60 nights and 1200 spectra later'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this