PI: John D. Silverman, SAO; University of Virginia, firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: High Energy Astrophysics, MS-67, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
CoI: Paul Green, Chandra X-ray Center
CoI: Belinda Wilkes, Chandra X-ray Center
CoI: Paul Smith, Steward Observatory
CoI: Buell Jannuzi, NOAO
Title: Is the dawn of the quasar epoch between 3<z<5?
Abstract: My thesis investigates the evolution of the quasar population by measuring the intrinsic luminosity function and the comoving space density of X-ray selected quasars out to z>=4. My goal is to determine if a decline in the space density of optically-selected quasars beyond z>3 persists in sensitive X-ray-selected samples, which include obscured quasars missed by previous surveys. The intrinsic luminosity function is not only key to understanding the quasar population and its evolution but also in determining the quasar contribution to the reionization of the IGM and the overall energy density of the universe. To do so, I propose to acquire optical spectra for classification and redshift determination of serendipitous Chandra sources imaged by the Chandra Multiwavelength Project (ChaMP). Using the remarkable sensitivity of the Chandra X-ray observatory to detect obscured and distant quasars, this work forms the foundation for the spectroscopic component of the ChaMP - to investigate the X-ray luminosity function and its evolution. With 98 quasars already identified (11 at z>3), I seek to complete my thesis sample by observing with WIYN/HYDRA and the KPNO/4m using MARS this spring. These observations are crucial to acquire a complete sample of 200 quasars with 20 at z>3 needed to finish the thesis project by December 2003.
National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360