The ALHAMBRA survey: Discovery of a faint QSO at z = 5.41

Matute, I.; Masegosa, J.; Márquez, I.; Fernández-Soto, A.; Husillos, C.; del Olmo, A.; Perea, J.; Pović, M.; Ascaso, B.; Alfaro, E. J.; Moles, M.; Aguerri, J. A. L.; Aparicio--Villegas, T.; Benítez, N.; Broadhurst, T.; Cabrera--Cano, J.; Castander, F. J.; Cepa, J.; Cerviño, M.; Cristóbal-Hornillos, D.; Infante, L.; González Delgado, R. M.; Martínez, V. J.; Molino, A.; Prada, F.; Quintana, J. M.
Astronomy & Astrophysics, Volume 557, id.A78, 6 pp. (2013).


We aim to illustrate the potentiality of the Advanced Large, Homogeneous Area, Medium-Band Redshift Astronomical (ALHAMBRA) survey to investigate the high redshift universe through the detection of quasi stellar objects (QSOs) at redshifts larger than 5. The search for z>5 QSOs candidates was done by fitting an extensive library of spectral energy distributions --including active and non-active galaxy templates as well as stars-- to the photometric database of the ALHAMBRA survey (composed of 20 optical medium-band plus the 3 broad-band JHKs filters). Our selection over ~1 square degree of ALHAMBRA data (~1/4 of the total area covered by the survey), combined with GTC/OSIRIS spectroscopy, has yielded the identification of an optically faint QSO at very high redshift (z = 5.41). The QSO has an absolute magnitude of ~-24 at the 1450{\AA} continuum, a bolometric luminosity of ~2x10^46 erg/s and an estimated black hole mass of ~10^8 Msolar. This QSO adds itself to a reduced number of known UV faint sources at these redshifts. The preliminary derived space density is compatible with the most recent determinations of the high-z QSO luminosity functions (QLF). This new detection shows how ALHAMBRA, as well as forthcoming well designed photometric surveys, can provide a wealth of information on the origin and early evolution of this kind of objects.