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Title: Eight new luminous z ≥ 6 quasars discovered via SED model fitting of VISTA, WISE and Dark Energy Survey Year 1 observations

We present the discovery and spectroscopic confirmation with the ESO NTT and Gemini South telescopes of eight new 6.0 < z < 6.5 quasars with z$$_{AB}$$ < 21.0. These quasars were photometrically selected without any star-galaxy morphological criteria from 1533 deg$$^{2}$$ using SED model fitting to photometric data from the Dark Energy Survey (g, r, i, z, Y), the VISTA Hemisphere Survey (J, H, K) and the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (W1, W2). The photometric data was fitted with a grid of quasar model SEDs with redshift dependent Lyman-{\alpha} forest absorption and a range of intrinsic reddening as well as a series of low mass cool star models. Candidates were ranked using on a SED-model based $$\chi^{2}$$-statistic, which is extendable to other future imaging surveys (e.g. LSST, Euclid). Our spectral confirmation success rate is 100% without the need for follow-up photometric observations as used in other studies of this type. Combined with automatic removal of the main types of non-astrophysical contaminants the method allows large data sets to be processed without human intervention and without being over run by spurious false candidates. We also present a robust parametric redshift estimating technique that gives comparable accuracy to MgII and CO based redshift estimators. We find two z $$\sim$$ 6.2 quasars with HII near zone sizes < 3 proper Mpc which could indicate that these quasars may be young with ages < 10$^6$ - 10$^7$ years or lie in over dense regions of the IGM. The z = 6.5 quasar VDESJ0224-4711 has J$$_{AB}$$ = 19.75 is the second most luminous quasar known with z > 6.5.
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Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
FERMILAB-PUB-16-570-AE-PPD; arXiv:1701.04852
Journal ID: ISSN 0035-8711; 1509489
Grant/Contract Number:
AC02-07CH11359; AC05-00OR22725
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 468; Journal Issue: 4; Journal ID: ISSN 0035-8711
Royal Astronomical Society
Research Org:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States); SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States); Fermi National Accelerator Lab. (FNAL), Batavia, IL (United States); Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), High Energy Physics (HEP) (SC-25)
Contributing Orgs:
Country of Publication:
United States
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; galaxies: active; galaxies: formation; galaxies: high redshift; quasars individual: VDES J0224−4711; dark ages; reionization; first stars
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1343963