Published online by Cambridge University Press: 04 August 2010
The first ROSAT X-ray spectra of two high-redshift quasars reveal unexpectedly strong absorption when compared with similar luminosity objects at lowredshift. A third quasar shows none. A fourth, low-redshift, radio-loud quasar (3C351) with extended radio structure, shows absorption possibly due to a warm absorber with a strong OVII absorption edge.
X-ray spectral observations of quasars have been confined to low redshift objects (z≤0.5) whose proximity makes them bright enough to study and also to those with relatively bright X-ray flux (αox≲1.5). ROSAT, with its high sensitivity, enables us to observe the spectra of high redshift (z>2) and large αox quasars for the first time. We have begun a ROSAT observing program to study the X-ray spectra of quasars selected to cover the full range of continuum properties. In particular this sample includes objects at high redshift, with relatively faint X-ray flux and with a full range of radio properties: strong, weak, extended and compact. We are also carrying out a follow-up observing program to obtain multi-wavelength (infrared – ultra-violet) data for all our ROSAT-observed quasars.
Sampling the full quasar population with ROSAT
To date we have received and analysed data for > 25 quasars. Their spectra are generally steeper than those seen at higher (e.g. Einstein IPC) energies, as observed in general with ROSAT. Our current sample includes 4 high-redshift (z>2.8) quasars with sufficient counts (> 350) to obtain spectral information (Table 1).