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A GNIRS Near-IR Spectroscopic Survey of z>5.7 Quasars

 

Principal Investigator: Yue Shen, Carnegie Institution of Washington

 



Program Summary:

Recent searches for high-redshift quasars have discovered more than a hundred quasars at z>~6, and start to enable a detailed understanding of the assembly of the earliest supermassive black holes (BHs) and their hosts, one of the latest frontiers in galaxy formation studies. These impressive statistics now enable a transition from individual case studies to the more important ensemble studies of high-z quasars, and motivate novel statistical approaches that were not possible with the earlier small sample. Spectroscopy of these highest-redshift quasars contains rich information about their physical properties and provides the estimation of their BH masses using the broad emission lines. Unfortunately for these high-z quasars, near-IR spectroscopy is necessary to expand the wavelength coverage in the rest-frame UV.


A history of the Universe from the Big Bang to the present day (image credit: STScI). The inset on the left shows the collection of quasar BH masses as a function of redshift. There are currently only ~ a dozen quasars at z>~6 with measured BH masses. Our Gemini Large and Long program will increase this number dramatically, enabling a statistical study of the assembly of these earliest SMBHs at cosmic dawn.



Co-Investigators:

  • Chris Willott, Canadian Astronomy Data Centre, Canada
  • Ian McGreer, University of Arizona (Astronomy), USA
  • Xiaohui Fan, University of Arizona (Astronomy), USA
  • Michael Strauss, Princeton University (Astrophysics), USA
  • Dominik Riechers, Cornell University, USA
  • Fuyan Bian, Australian National University, Australia
  • Luis Ho, Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Peking University, China
  • Linhua Jiang, Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Peking University, China
  • Feige Wang, Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Peking University, China
  • Xuebing Wu, Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Peking University, China
  • Marianne Vestergaard, The Niels Bohr Institute, Denmark
  • Frank Bertoldi, University of Bonn, Germany
  • Eduardo Banados, Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Germany
  • Bram Venemans, Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Germany
  • Fabian Walter, Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Germany

Gemini Observatory Participants