Space density of optically selected type 2 quasars

Reinabelle Reyes, Nadia L. Zakamska, Michael A. Strauss, Joshua Green, Julian H. Krolik, Yue Shen, Gordon T. Richards, Scott F. Anderson, Donald P. Schneider

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248 Scopus citations


Type 2 quasars are luminous active galactic nuclei whose central regions are obscured by large amounts of gas and dust. In this paper, we present a catalog of type 2 quasars from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, selected based on their optical emission lines. The catalog contains 887 objects with redshifts z < 0.83; this is 6 times larger than the previous version and is by far the largest sample of type 2 quasars in the literature. We derive the [O III]5007 luminosity function (LF) for 108.3 L < L [O III] < 1010 L (corresponding to intrinsic luminosities up to M[2500 ] ≃ -28 mag or bolometric luminosities up to 4 × 1047 erg s -1). This LF provides robust lower limits to the actual space density of obscured quasars due to our selection criteria, the details of the spectroscopic target selection, and other effects. We derive the equivalent LF for the complete sample of type 1 (unobscured) quasars and determine the ratio of type 2 to type 1 quasar number densities. Our data constrain this ratio to be at least 1.5:1 for 108.3 L < L [O III] < 10 9.5 L at z < 0.3, and at least 1.2:1 for L [O III] 1010 L at 0.3 < z < 0.83. Type 2 quasars are at least as abundant as type 1 quasars in the relatively nearby universe (z ≲ 0.8) for the highest luminosities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2373-2390
Number of pages18
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Galaxies: active
  • Quasars: emission lines
  • Quasars: general
  • Surveys


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