Milliarcsecond Imaging of the Radio Emission from the Quasar with the Most Massive Black Hole at Reionization

Ran Wang, Emmanuel Momjian, Chris L. Carilli, Xue Bing Wu, Xiaohui Fan, Fabian Walter, Michael A. Strauss, Feige Wang, Linhua Jiang

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14 Scopus citations


We report Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) observations of the 1.5 GHz radio continuum emission of the z = 6.326 quasar SDSS J010013.02+280225.8 (hereafter J0100+2802). J0100+2802 is by far the most optically luminous and is a radio-quiet quasar with the most massive black hole known at z > 6. The VLBA observations have a synthesized beam size of 12.10 mas 5.36 mas (FWHM), and detected the radio continuum emission from this object with a peak surface brightness of 64.6 9.0 μJy beam-1 and a total flux density of 88 19 μJy. The position of the radio peak is consistent with that from SDSS in the optical and Chandra in the X-ray. The radio source is marginally resolved by the VLBA observations. A 2D Gaussian fit to the image constrains the source size to (7.1 3.5) mas (3.1 1.7) mas. This corresponds to a physical scale of (40 20) pc (18 10) pc. We estimate the intrinsic brightness temperature of the VLBA source to be TB = (1.6 1.2) 107 K. This is significantly higher than the maximum value in normal star-forming galaxies, indicating an active galactic nucleus (AGN) origin for the radio continuum emission. However, it is also significantly lower than the brightness temperatures found in highest-redshift radio-loud quasars. J0100+2802 provides a unique example for studying the radio activity in optically luminous and radio-quiet AGNs in the early universe. Further observations at multiple radio frequencies will accurately measure the spectral index and address the dominant radiation mechanism of the radio emission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL20
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • galaxies: active
  • galaxies: high-redshift
  • quasars: individual (SDSS J010013.02+280225.8)
  • radio continuum: galaxies


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