Three new VHS-DES quasars at 6.7 < z < 6.9 and emission line properties at z > 6.5

Sophie L. Reed, M. Banerji, G. D. Becker, Paul C. Hewett, Paul Martini, R. McMahon, E. Pons, M. Rauch, T. M. C. Abbott, Sahar S. Allam, James T. Annis, Santiago Javier Avila Perez, Emmanuel Bertin, D. Brooks, Elizabeth J. Buckley-Geer, Aurelio Carnero Rosell, Jorge Carretero, Francisco Javier Castander, C. E. Cunha, Christopher Brian D'AndreaLuiz Alberto Nicolaci da Costa, Juan de Vicente, S. Desai, H. Thomas Diehl, Peter Doel, A. E. Evrard, B. Flaugher, Joshua A. Frieman, Juan García-Bellido, Enrique Gaztanaga, Daniel Gruen, Julia Gschwend, G. Gutierrez, Klaus Honscheid, Ben Hoyle, Derek James, Kyler Kuehn, O. Lahav, M. Lima, Marcio Antonio Geimba Maia, J. L. Marshall, Ramon Miquel, Ricardo L. C. Ogando, Andres A. Plazas, Aaron Roodman, Eusebio Sanchez, Vic Scarpine, Michael Schubnell, Santiago Serrano, Ignacio Sevilla-Noarbe, Mathew Smith, Robert Chris Smith, Flavia Sobreira, Eric Suchyta, Molly E. C. Swanson, Gregory Tarle, Daniel Thomas, Douglas L. Tucker, Vinu Vikram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Downloads (Pure)


We report the results from a search for z > 6.5 quasars using the Dark Energy Survey (DES) Year 3 data set combined with the VISTA Hemisphere Survey (VHS) and WISE All-Sky Survey. Our photometric selection method is shown to be highly efficient in identifying clean samples of high-redshift quasars, leading to spectroscopic confirmation of three new quasars – VDES J0244−5008 (z = 6.724), VDES J0020−3653 (z = 6.834), and VDES J0246−5219 (z = 6.90) – which were selected as the highest priority candidates in the survey data without any need for additional follow-up observations. We have obtained spectroscopic observations in the near-infrared for VDES J0244−5008 and VDES J0020−3653 as well as our previously identified quasar, VDES J0224−4711 at z = 6.50 from Reed et al. We use the near-infrared spectra to derive virial black hole masses from the full width at half-maximum of the Mg II line. These black hole masses are ≃1–2 × 109 M. Combined with the bolometric luminosities of these quasars of Lbol ≃ 1–3 × 1047, these imply that the Eddington ratios are high, ≃0.6–1.1. We consider the C IV emission line properties of the sample and demonstrate that our high-redshift quasars do not have unusual C IV line properties when compared to carefully matched low-redshift samples. Our new DES + VHS z > 6.5 quasars now add to the growing census of luminous, rapidly accreting supermassive black holes seen well into the epoch of reionization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1874-1885
Number of pages12
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
Early online date29 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019


  • galaxies: active
  • galaxies: formation
  • galaxies: high-redshift
  • dark ages
  • reionization
  • first stars
  • quasars: individual: VDES J0224-4711
  • quasars: indiviual: VDES J0244-5008
  • quasars: individual: VDES J0020-3653
  • quasars: individual: VDES J0246-5219
  • RCUK
  • STFC


Dive into the research topics of 'Three new VHS-DES quasars at 6.7 < z < 6.9 and emission line properties at z > 6.5'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this