- Optically selected BL Lacertae candidates from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release Seven
- Astronomical Journal
- Volume | Issue number
- 139 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy (API)
We present a sample of 723 optically selected BL Lac candidates from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 7 (SDSS DR7) spectroscopic database encompassing 8250 deg(2) of sky; our sample constitutes one of the largest uniform BL Lac samples yet derived. Each BL Lac candidate has a high-quality SDSS spectrum from which we determine spectroscopic redshifts for similar to 60% of the objects. Redshift lower limits are estimated for the remaining objects utilizing the lack of host galaxy flux contamination in their optical spectra; we find that objects lacking spectroscopic redshifts are likely at systematically higher redshifts. Approximately 80% of our BL Lac candidates match to a radio source in FIRST/NVSS, and similar to 40% match to a ROSAT X-ray source. The homogeneous multi-wavelength coverage allows subdivision of the sample into 637 radio-loud BL Lac candidates and 86 weak-featured radio-quiet objects. The radio-loud objects broadly support the standard paradigm unifying BL Lac objects with beamed radio galaxies. We propose that the majority of the radio-quiet objects may be lower-redshift (z < 2.2) analogs to high-redshift weak line quasars (i.e., active galactic nucleus with unusually anemic broad emission line regions). These would constitute the largest sample of such objects, being of similar size and complementary in redshift to the samples of high-redshift weak line quasars previously discovered by the SDSS. However, some fraction of the weak-featured radio-quiet objects may instead populate a rare and extreme radio-weak tail of the much larger radio-loud BL Lac population. Serendipitous discoveries of unusual white dwarfs, high-redshift weak line quasars, and broad absorption line quasars with extreme continuum dropoffs blueward of rest-frame 2800 angstrom are also briefly described.
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- ID: 633
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