Discovery of Merging Twin Quasars at z = 6.05

Yoshiki Matsuoka, Takuma Izumi, Masafusa Onoue, Michael A. Strauss, Kazushi Iwasawa, Nobunari Kashikawa, Masayuki Akiyama, Kentaro Aoki, Junya Arita, Masatoshi Imanishi, Rikako Ishimoto, Toshihiro Kawaguchi, Kotaro Kohno, Chien Hsiu Lee, Tohru Nagao, John D. Silverman, Yoshiki Toba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report the discovery of two quasars at a redshift of z = 6.05 in the process of merging. They were serendipitously discovered from the deep multiband imaging data collected by the Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC) Subaru Strategic Program survey. The quasars, HSC J121503.42−014858.7 (C1) and HSC J121503.55−014859.3 (C2), both have luminous (>1043 erg s−1) Lyα emission with a clear broad component (full width at half maximum >1000 km s−1). The rest-frame ultraviolet (UV) absolute magnitudes are M 1450 = − 23.106 ± 0.017 (C1) and −22.662 ± 0.024 (C2). Our crude estimates of the black hole masses provide log ( M BH / M ⊙ ) = 8.1 ± 0.3 in both sources. The two quasars are separated by 12 kpc in projected proper distance, bridged by a structure in the rest-UV light suggesting that they are undergoing a merger. This pair is one of the most distant merging quasars reported to date, providing crucial insight into galaxy and black hole build-up in the hierarchical structure formation scenario. A companion paper will present the gas and dust properties captured by Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array observations, which provide additional evidence for and detailed measurements of the merger, and also demonstrate that the two sources are not gravitationally lensed images of a single quasar.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL4
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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