AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 69 The High Z Universe
Oral, Tuesday, January 6, 2004, 2:00-3:30pm, Centennial IV

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[69.04] The Palomar-Quest High-Redshift Quasar Survey

S.G. Djorgovski, A. Mahabal, M. Bogosavljevic, M. Graham, R. Williams, C. Baltay, D. Rabinowitz, A. Bauer, P. Andrews, N. Morgan, J. Snyder, N. Ellman, R. Brunner, A. W. Rengstorf, J. Musser, M. Gebhard, S. Mufson (CalTech), Palomar-Quest Collaboration

We have initiated a search for quasars in the redshift interval z ~4 - 6.5 using the drift scans obtained as a part of the Palomar-Quest sky survey. The scans are obtained in Cousins UBRI and SDSS r'i'z'z' bands, with two passes with each filter set over declination strips 4.6 deg wide. Coadded data reach the depth of the SDSS. The anticipated sky coverage by the time of the meeting is ~ 4,000 - 5,000 deg2. QSO candidates are selected using standard color techniques. For redshifts z > 5.5, we also use coadded 2MASS data, supplemented by new IR imaging to discern high-z QSOs from brown dwarfs. Spectroscopy is done at the Palomar 200-inch telescope, with follow-up high-S/N, high-resolution spectra of the objects at z > 5 obtained at the Keck telescope.

The scientific goals of this survey include: discovery of more lines of sight to z > 6, in order to probe the end of the Reionization Era; use of QSOs as probes of primordial (possibly bias-driven) large-scale structure; improved estimates of the evolution of the QSO comoving density and luminosity function at z > 4; etc.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35#5
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.