Journal Article

<i>HST</i> Planetary Camera images of quasar host galaxies

P. J. Boyce, M. J. Disney, J. C. Blades, A. Boksenberg, P. Crane, J. M. Deharveng, F. D. Macchetto, C. D. Mackay and W. B. Sparks

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 298, issue 1, pages 121-130
Published in print July 1998 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online July 1998 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-8711.1998.01617.x
HST Planetary Camera images of quasar host galaxies

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Abstract

We present Hubble Space Telescope (HST) images of seven low-redshift quasars (six taken with the Planetary Camera, one with the Wide Field Camera). These complete the sample of 14 quasars observed by the Faint Object Camera Investigation Definition Team (FOC IDT). Following subtraction of the quasar nuclear light, host galaxies can be seen in all seven cases. A combination of the optical morphology and luminosity profiles of the residual host galaxies and the results of 2D cross-correlation model fitting implies that five of the objects have elliptical host galaxies and two have disc host galaxies. The luminosities vary from slightly fainter than L* to about 1.3 mag brighter than L*.

We discuss the properties of the complete sample of 14 quasars. Nine of the objects appear to have elliptical host galaxies (all six of the radio-loud quasars in the sample as well as three radio-quiet quasars). Two further radio-quiet quasars appear to lie in disc galaxies. The other three objects (radio-quiet, ultraluminous infrared quasars) all lie in violently interacting systems. The sample as a whole has an average luminosity about 0.8 mag brighter than L*, although the radio-loud objects have hosts on average 0.7 mag brighter than the radio-quiet objects.

We compare our results with those from HST imaging of quasars by other authors. Taken together, our observations are in broad agreement with those of Bahcall et al. Radio-loud quasars appear to lie in luminous elliptical galaxies whereas radio-quiet quasars are found to lie in either elliptical or spiral hosts. Host galaxy luminosities (of radio-quiet and radio-loud quasars) are much brighter than would be expected if they followed a Schechter luminosity function.

Keywords: galaxies: active; galaxies: interactions; galaxies: nuclei — quasars: general

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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