The Extended Chandra Deep Field-South survey: Optical spectroscopy of faint X-ray sources with the VLT* and Keck

J. D. Silverman, V. Mainieri, M. Salvato, G. Hasinger, J. Bergeron, P. Capak, G. Szokoly, A. Finoguenov, R. Gilli, P. Rosati, P. Tozzi, C. Vignali, D. M. Alexander, W. N. Brandt, B. D. Lehmer, B. Luo, D. Rafferty, Y. Q. Xue, I. Balestra, F. E. BauerM. Brusa, A. Comastri, J. Kartaltepe, A. M. Koekemoer, T. Miyaji, D. P. Schneider, E. Treister, L. Wisotski, M. Schramm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations


We present the results of a program to acquire high-quality optical spectra of X-ray sources detected in the Extended-Chandra Deep Field-South (E-CDF-S) and its central 2 Ms area. New spectroscopic redshifts, up to z = 4, are measured for 283 counterparts to Chandra sources with deep exposures (t ∼ 2-9 hr per pointing) using multi-slit facilities on both VLT (VIMOS) and Keck (DEIMOS), thus bringing the total number of spectroscopically identified X-ray sources to over 500 in this survey field. Since our new spectroscopic identifications are mainly associated with X-ray sources in the shallower 250 ks coverage, we provide a comprehensive catalog of X-ray sources detected in the E-CDF-S including the optical and near-infrared counterparts, determined by a likelihood routine, and redshifts (both spectroscopic and photometric), that incorporate published spectroscopic catalogs, thus resulting in a final sample with a high fraction (80%) of X-ray sources having secure identifications. We demonstrate the remarkable coverage of the luminosity-redshift plane now accessible from our data while emphasizing the detection of active galactic nuclei (AGNs) that contribute to the faint end of the luminosity function (L0.5-8 keV ∼ 1043-1044 erg s-1) at 1.5 ≤ z ≤ 3 including those with and without broad emission lines. Our redshift catalog includes 17 type-2 QSOs at 1 ≤ z ≤ 3.5 that significantly increases such samples (2×). Based on our deepest (9 hr) VLT/VIMOS observation, we identify "elusive" optically faint galaxies (Rmag ∼ 25) at z ∼ 2-3 based upon the detection of interstellar absorption lines (e.g., Oii+Siiv, Cii], Civ); we highlight one such case, an absorption-line galaxy at z = 3.208 having no obvious signs of an AGN in its optical spectrum. In addition, we determine accurate distances to eight galaxy groups with extended X-ray emission detected both by Chandra and XMM-Newton. Finally, we measure the physical extent of known large-scale structures (z ∼ 0.7) evident in the CDF-S. While a thick sheet (a radial size of 67.7 Mpc) at z ∼ 0.67 extends over the full field, the z ∼ 0.73 structure is thin (18.8 Mpc) and filamentary as traced by both AGNs and galaxy groups. In the Appendix, we provide spectroscopic redshifts for 49 counterparts to fainter X-ray sources detected only in the 1 and 2 Ms catalogs, and 48 Very Large Array radio sources not detected in X-rays.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)124-142
Number of pages19
JournalAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'The Extended Chandra Deep Field-South survey: Optical spectroscopy of faint X-ray sources with the VLT* and Keck'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this