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Keywords:

  • surveys;
  • quasars: general;
  • infrared: general

ABSTRACT

The results of a large area, ∼600 deg2, K-band flux-limited spectroscopic survey for luminous quasars are presented. The survey utilizes the UKIRT Infrared Deep Sky Survey (UKIDSS) Large Area Survey (LAS) in regions of sky within the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) footprint. The K-band excess (KX) of all quasars with respect to Galactic stars is exploited in combination with a photometric redshift/classification scheme to identify quasar candidates for spectroscopic follow-up observations. The data contained within this investigation will be able to provide new constraints on the fraction of luminous quasars reddened by dust with E(BV) ≤ 0.5 mag. The spectroscopic sample is defined using the K-band, 14.0 ≤ K ≤ 16.6, and SDSS i-band limits of i = 19.5, 19.7 and 22.0 over sky areas of 287, 150 and 196 deg2, respectively. The survey includes >3200 known quasars from the SDSS and more than 250 additional confirmed quasars from the KX selection. A well-defined subsample of quasars in the redshift interval 1.0 ≤ z ≤ 3.5 includes 1152 objects from the SDSS and 172 additional KX-selected quasars. The quasar selection is >95 per cent complete with respect to known SDSS quasars and >95 per cent efficient, largely independent of redshift and i-band magnitude. The properties of the new KX-selected quasars confirm the known redshift-dependent effectiveness of the SDSS quasar selection and provide a sample of luminous quasars experiencing intermediate levels of extinction by dust. The catalogue represents an important step towards the assembly of a well-defined sample of luminous quasars that may be used to investigate the properties of quasars experiencing intermediate levels of dust extinction within their host galaxies or due intervening absorption line systems.