Galaxy clustering around nearby luminous quasars

Karl B. Fisher, John N. Bahcall, Sofia Kirhakos, Donald P. Schneider

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We examine the clustering of galaxies around a sample of 20 luminous low redshift (z ≲: 0.30) quasars observed with the Wide Field Camera-2 on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). The HST resolution makes possible galaxy identification brighter than V = 24.5 and as close as 1″ or 2″ to the quasar. We find a significant enhancement of galaxies within a projected separation of ≲100 h-1 kpc of the quasars. If we model the QSO/galaxy correlation function as a power law with a slope given by the galaxy/galaxy correlation function, we find that the ratio of the QSO/galaxy to galaxy/galaxy correlation functions is 3.8 7plusmn; 0.8. The galaxy counts within r < 15 h-1 kpc of the quasars are too high for the density profile to have an appreciable core radius (≳100 h-1 kpc). Our results reinforce the idea that low redshift quasars are located preferentially in groups of 10-20 galaxies rather than in rich clusters. We see no significant difference in the clustering amplitudes derived from radio-loud and radio-quiet subsamples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-474
Number of pages6
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 PART I
StatePublished - 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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