PI: Xiaohui Fan, University of Arizona, firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: Steward Observatory, 933 N. Cherry Ave, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
CoI: Michael Strauss, Princeton University
CoI: Joe Hennawi, UC Berkeley
CoI: Linhua Jiang, University of Arizona
Title: A Complete Survey of z~ 6 Quasars from the SDSS
Abstract: We propose to use MARS on KPNO 4m to complete our survey of luminous quasars at z~ 6 in the Northern Galactic Cap based on imaging data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). This program was granted time during semesters 2003 - 2005A. The observations were very successful, with a total of nine new quasars at z=5.8 to 6.2 observed. The SDSS has completed the Northern Galactic Cap imaging observation in 2005, with a total area of ~ 7600 deg^2. Our previous search has covered ~ 6600 deg^2 of SDSS imaging. In 2006A, we will search for quasars from the remaining ~ 1000 deg^2, and observe additional candidates selected with improved photometry in previous areas. Objects with i-z > 2.2, z<20.4 and blue z-J color will be selected based on optical and near-IR photometry. Follow-up spectroscopy will be obtained using KPNO 4m/MARS, taking full advantage of this red-optimized spectrograph to probe the 8000 - 10000 \AA\ region. We expect to find 3 - 6 new quasars at 5.7 < z < 6.5 in the new area, increasing the total number of z~6 objects known by \gtrsim 15%. This flux-limited complete sample of luminous z~ 6 quasars will contain 22 - 25 quasars covering the entire SDSS Northern area. The high-redshift quasar spectra will be used to probe the evolution of the ionizing background and the epoch of reionization. The complete sample will also be used to study the evolution of the density and the luminosity functions of the quasar population, and to measure the metallicity of high-redshift quasar environments.
National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360