APM 08279+5255: an Ultraluminous Broad Absorption Line Quasar at a Redshift Z =

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APM 08279+5255: an Ultraluminous Broad Absorption Line Quasar at a Redshift Z = 3.87 Authors:
Irwin, Michael J.; Ibata, Rodrigo A.; Lewis, Geraint F.; Totten, Edward J. Affiliation:
AA(Royal Greenwich Observatory, Madingley Road, Cambridge, CB3 0EZ, UK; .), AB(European Southern Observatory, Karl Schwarzschild Strasse 2, D-85748 Garching bei München, Germany; .), AC(Astronomy Department, University of Washington, Box 351580, Seattle, WA 98195-1580 .; Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Victoria, P.O. Box 3055, Victoria, BC V8W 3P7, Canada; .), AD(Department of Pure and Applied Physics, The Queen's University of Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, Northern Ireland; .) Publication:
The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 505, Issue 2, pp. 529-535. (ApJ Homepage) Publication Date:
10/1998 Origin:
APJ; UCP Astronomy Keywords:
COSMOLOGY: GRAVITATIONAL LENSING, INFRARED: GALAXIES, GALAXIES: QUASARS: ABSORPTION LINES, GALAXIES: QUASARS: INDIVIDUAL: ALPHANUMERIC: APM 08279+5255, Cosmology: Gravitational Lensing, Infrared: Galaxies, Galaxies: Quasars: Absorption Lines, Galaxies: Quasars: Individual: Alphanumeric: APM 08279+5255 Abstract Copyright:
(c) 1998: The American Astronomical Society DOI:
10.1086/306213 Bibliographic Code:


We report on the discovery of a highly luminous, broad absorption line quasar at a redshift of z = 3.87, which is positionally coincident, within 1", with the IRAS Faint Source Catalog source F08279+5255. A chance alignment of the quasar and the IRAS source is extremely unlikely, and we argue that the optical and far-infrared flux are different manifestations of the same object. With an R-band magnitude of 15.2 and an IRAS 60 mum flux of 0.51 Jy, APM 08279+5255 is (apparently) easily the most intrinsically luminous object known, with LBol ~ 5 × 1015 L&sun;. Optical CCD photometry of the system, taken in good seeing, shows evidence that the system is slightly elongated. Although these data are consistent with the superposition of the quasar on a vastly luminous galaxy, we argue that a more likely scenario is that the optical image implies the presence of two unresolved point sources. Such a configuration suggests that gravitational lensing may play a significant role in amplifying the intrinsic properties of the system. Point-spread function fitting of two discrete sources gives a separation of ~0.4" and an intensity ratio ~1.1. The optical spectrum of the quasar clearly reveals the presence of three potential lensing galaxies, Mg II absorption systems at z = 1.18 and z = 1.81, and a damped Lyalpha absorption system at z = 3.07. Additional, as yet unseen, lensing galaxies may also be present. We estimate the total amplification of the optical component to be ~40 but, owing to the larger scale of the emitting region, would expect the infrared amplification to be significantly less. Even making the conservative assumption that all wavelengths are amplified by a factor 40, APM 08279+5255 still possesses a phenomenal luminosity of >~1014 L&sun;, indicating that it belongs to a small but significant population of high-redshift, hyperluminous objects with copious infrared emission.
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