The polarized spectrum of APM 08279+5255

Dean C. Hines, Gary D. Schmidt, Paul S. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


We report the discovery of significant linear polarization (p > 1%) in the hyperluminous z = 3.87 broad absorption line (BAL) QSO APM 0827915255. The polarization spectrum is complex, with properties similar to those of other, lower redshift but more highly polarized BALQSOs. The resonance emission lines are unpolarized, while the absorption troughs show polarization similar to or higher than the continuum. In particular, an apparent increase of polarization in the trough covering 1000-1030 A (rest) supports the interpretation of this feature as a broad absorption component associated with O vi/Lyβ local to the QSO, as opposed to an intervening damped Lyα absorption system. The elevated polarization in some of the absorption features implies that we view the scattered (polarized) spectrum through a sight line with less absorbing material than the direct spectrum. Therefore, the complex structure of the polarization spectrum in this brilliant lensed BALQSO suggests that it will be an important laboratory for studying the structure of QSOs at high redshift.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L91-L94
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Galaxies: Peculiar
  • Infrared: Galaxies
  • Polarization
  • Quasars: Individual (APM 08279+5255)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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