3 years ago

Characterizing the WISE-selected Heavily Obscured Quasar Population with Optical Spectroscopy from the Southern African Large Telescope.

C. M. Carroll, M. A. DiPompeo, W. Yan, M. L. Jones, R. C. Hickox, K. N. Hainline, R. E. Hviding

We present the results of an optical spectroscopic survey of 46 heavily obscured quasar candidates. Objects are selected using their mid-infrared (mid-IR) colours and magnitudes from the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and their optical magnitudes from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). Candidate Active Galactic Nuclei (AGNs) are selected to have mid-IR colours indicative of quasar activity and lie in a region of mid-IR colour space outside previously published X-ray based selection regions. We obtain optical spectra for our sample using the Robert Stobie Spectrograph on the Southern African Large Telescope. Thirty objects (65%) have identifiable emission lines, allowing for the determination of spectroscopic redshifts. Other than one object at $z\sim2.6$, candidates have moderate redshifts ranging from $z=0.1$ to $0.8$ with a median of 0.3. Twenty-one (70%) of our objects with identified redshift (46% of the whole sample) are identified as AGNs through common optical diagnostics. We model the spectral energy distributions of our sample and found that all require a strong AGN component, with an average intrinsic AGN fraction at 8$\,\mu$m of 0.91. Additionally, the fits require large extinction coefficients with an average $E(B-V)_\textrm{AGN} = 17.8$ (average $A(V)_\textrm{AGN} = 53.4$). By focusing on the area outside traditional mid-IR photometric cuts, we are able to capture and characterise a population of deeply buried quasars that were previously unattainable through X-ray surveys alone.

Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1711.01269

DOI: arXiv:1711.01269v1

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