Are z similar to 5 quasars found in the most massive high-redshift overdensities?star

K. Husband*, M. N. Bremer, E. R. Stanway, L. J. M. Davies, M. D. Lehnert, L. S. Douglas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Luminous high-redshift quasars (QSOs) are thought to exist within the most massive dark matter haloes in the young Universe. As a consequence, they are likely to be markers for biased, overdense regions where early galaxies cluster, regions that eventually grow into the groups and clusters seen in the lower redshift Universe. In this paper, we explore the clustering of galaxies around z similar to 5 QSOs as traced by Lyman break galaxies (LBGs). We target the fields of three QSOs using the same optical imaging and spectroscopy techniques as used in the ESO Remote Galaxy Survey (ERGS), which was successful in identifying individual clustered structures of LBGs. We use the statistics of the redshift clustering in ERGS to show that two of the three fields show significant clustering of LBGs at the QSO redshifts. Neither of these fields is obviously overdense in LBGs from the imaging alone; a possible reason why previous imaging-only studies of high redshift QSO environments have given ambiguous results. This result shows that luminous QSOs at z similar to 5 are typically found in overdense regions. The richest QSO field contains at least nine spectroscopically confirmed objects at the same redshift, including the QSO itself, seven LBGs and a second fainter QSO. While this is a very strong observational signal of clustering at z similar to 5, it is of similar strength to that seen in two structures identified in the 'blank sky' ERGS fields. This indicates that, while overdense, the QSO environments are not more extreme than other structures that can be identified at these redshifts. The three richest structures discovered in this work and in ERGS have properties consistent with that expected for protoclusters and likely represent the early stages in the build-up of massive current-day groups and clusters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2869-2877
Number of pages9
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume432
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013

Keywords

  • galaxies: clusters: general
  • galaxies: high-redshift
  • large-scale structure of Universe
  • LYMAN-BREAK GALAXIES
  • LARGE-SCALE STRUCTURE
  • MOLECULAR GAS
  • STELLAR OBJECTS
  • RADIO GALAXIES
  • DUST EMISSION
  • DISCOVERY
  • PROTOCLUSTER
  • CLUSTER
  • Z-GREATER-THAN-5

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