We present photometric and spectroscopic observations of 15 high-redshift quasars (z > 3.6) discovered from ∼140 deg2 of five-color (u′, g′, r′, i′, and z′) imaging data taken by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) during its commissioning phase. The quasars are selected by their distinctive colors in SDSS multicolor space. Four of the quasars have redshifts higher than 4.6 (z = 4.63, 4.75, 4.90, and 5.00, the latter being the highest redshift quasar yet known). In addition, two previously known z > 4 objects were recovered from the data. The quasars all have i* < 20 and have luminosities comparable to that of 3C 273. The spectra of the quasars have similar features (strong, broad emission lines and substantial absorption blueward of the Lyα emission line) seen in previously known high-redshift quasars. Although the photometric accuracy and image quality fail to meet the final survey requirements, our success rate for identifying high-redshift quasars (17 quasars from 27 candidates) is much higher than that of previous multicolor surveys. However, the numbers of high-redshift quasars found is in close accord with the number density inferred from previous surveys.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science
- Quasars: general