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The Quasar Luminosity Function

from II - Luminosity Functions and Continuum Energy Distributions

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 August 2010

B.J. Boyle
Affiliation:
Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0HA, U.K.
Andrew Robinson
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
Roberto Juan Terlevich
Affiliation:
Royal Greenwich Observatory, Cambridge
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Summary

Abstract

Recent work on the quasar luminosity function at optical and X-ray wavelengths is reviewed. It is shown that the evolution of the quasar luminosity function in these regimes is marked by a strong and approximately similar power law increase in luminosity, L ∝ (1 + z)3±0.5, between the present epoch and z ∼ 2. At z > 2, a slow-down in the rate of quasar evolution is witnessed in both regimes with possible evidence for a decrease in the space density of quasars being seen amongst optically faint (MB > −27) QSOs at z > 3.5.

Introduction

The quasar luminosity function (LF) is one of the most fundamental statistics relating to the quasar population. Estimates of the quasar LF and its evolution with redshift are normally obtained from the statistical analysis of large unbiased quasar surveys with complete spectroscopic identification. As such, the rapid increase in the number of such surveys in recent years, particularly in the optical and X-ray regimes, has led to a dramatic improvement in our knowledge of the quasar LF and its evolution. The purpose of this review is to describe the current observational status of the quasar LF in the optical (4400Å) and X-ray (∼ 2keV ≡ 6.2Å) regimes.

The Optical Luminosity Function

As a result of the recent improvement in quasar statistics at B > 20, it has become increasingly clear (Koo 1983, Marshall 1987, Boyle et al. 1988, Koo & Kron 1988) that the low redshift (z < 3) quasar optical LF (OLF) exhibits a significant break in its power law slope at faint absolute magnitudes.

Type
Chapter
Information
The Nature of Compact Objects in Active Galactic Nuclei
Proceedings of the 33rd Herstmonceux Conference, held in Cambridge, July 6-22, 1992
, pp. 110 - 117
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 1994

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  • The Quasar Luminosity Function
    • By B.J. Boyle, Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0HA, U.K.
  • Edited by Andrew Robinson, University of Cambridge, Roberto Juan Terlevich, Royal Greenwich Observatory, Cambridge
  • Book: The Nature of Compact Objects in Active Galactic Nuclei
  • Online publication: 04 August 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511564765.026
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  • The Quasar Luminosity Function
    • By B.J. Boyle, Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0HA, U.K.
  • Edited by Andrew Robinson, University of Cambridge, Roberto Juan Terlevich, Royal Greenwich Observatory, Cambridge
  • Book: The Nature of Compact Objects in Active Galactic Nuclei
  • Online publication: 04 August 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511564765.026
Available formats
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Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • The Quasar Luminosity Function
    • By B.J. Boyle, Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0HA, U.K.
  • Edited by Andrew Robinson, University of Cambridge, Roberto Juan Terlevich, Royal Greenwich Observatory, Cambridge
  • Book: The Nature of Compact Objects in Active Galactic Nuclei
  • Online publication: 04 August 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511564765.026
Available formats
×