The luminosity dependence of quasar clustering

Adam Lidz, Philip F. Hopkins, Thomas J. Cox, Lars Hernquist, Brant Robertson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


We investigate the luminosity dependence of quasar clustering, inspired by numerical simulations of galaxy mergers that incorporate black hole growth. These simulations have motivated a new interpretation of the quasar luminosity function. In this picture, the bright end of the quasar luminosity function consists of quasars radiating nearly at their peak luminosities, while the faint end consists mainly of very similar sources, but at dimmer phases in their evolution. We combine this model with the statistics of dark matter halos that host quasar activity. We find that, since bright and faint quasars are mostly similar sources seen in different evolutionary stages, a broad range in quasar luminosities corresponds to only a narrow range in the masses of quasar host halos. On average, bright and faint quasars reside in similar host halos. Consequently, we argue that quasar clustering should depend only weakly on luminosity. This prediction is in qualitative agreement with recent measurements of the luminosity dependence of the quasar correlation function (Croom et al.) and the galaxy-quasar cross-correlation function (Adelberger & Steidel). Future precision clustering measurements from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) and the Two Degree Field Survey (2dF), spanning a large range in luminosity, should provide a strong test of our model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-49
Number of pages9
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 I
StatePublished - Apr 10 2006


  • Cosmology: observations
  • Cosmology: theory
  • Large-scale structure of universe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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