Strong upper limits are placed on the visual-band brightnesses of galactic hosts for four luminous, radio-quiet quasars with redshifts between 0.16 and 0.24 that were studied with the HST's Wide Field/Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2). Typical upper limits on the luminosities of galactic hosts are ∼1.4 mag fainter than L* for spirals and ∼0.5 mag fainter than L* for ellipticals. The galactic hosts of the quasars are more than a magnitude and a half fainter than the median integrated absolute magnitude of Seyfert galaxies. If the detection limits are determined using featureless simulated galaxies instead of observed galaxy images, then the detection limits for spirals are 0.5-1.0 mag less stringent. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that the quasar phenomenon corresponds to the early stages of galaxy formation, before extensive star formation occurs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science