A SPectroscopic Survey of Biased Halos in the Reionization Era (ASPIRE): A First Look at the Rest-frame Optical Spectra of z > 6.5 Quasars Using JWST

Jinyi Yang, Feige Wang, Xiaohui Fan, Joseph F. Hennawi, Aaron J. Barth, Eduardo Bañados, Fengwu Sun, Weizhe Liu, Zheng Cai, Linhua Jiang, Zihao Li, Masafusa Onoue, Jan-Torge Schindler, Yue Shen, Yunjing Wu, Aklant K. Bhowmick, Rebekka Bieri, Laura Blecha, Sarah Bosman, Jaclyn B. ChampagneLuis Colina, Thomas Connor, Tiago Costa, Frederick B. Davies, Roberto Decarli, Gisella De Rosa, Alyssa B. Drake, Eiichi Egami, Anna-Christina Eilers, Analis E. Evans, Emanuele Paolo Farina, Melanie Habouzit, Zoltan Haiman, Xiangyu Jin, Hyunsung D. Jun, Koki Kakiichi, Yana Khusanova, Girish Kulkarni, Federica Loiacono, Alessandro Lupi, Chiara Mazzucchelli, Zhiwei Pan, Sofía Rojas-Ruiz, Michael A. Strauss, Wei Leong Tee, Benny Trakhtenbrot, Maxime Trebitsch, Bram Venemans, Marianne Vestergaard, Marta Volonteri, Fabian Walter, Zhang-Liang Xie, Minghao Yue, Haowen Zhang, Huanian Zhang, Siwei Zou

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Abstract

Studies of rest-frame optical emission in quasars at z > 6 have historically been limited by the wavelengths accessible by ground-based telescopes. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) now offers the opportunity to probe this emission deep into the reionization epoch. We report the observations of eight quasars at z > 6.5 using the JWST/NIRCam Wide Field Slitless Spectroscopy as a part of the “A SPectroscopic survey of biased halos In the Reionization Era (ASPIRE)” program. Our JWST spectra cover the quasars’ emission between rest frame ∼4100 and 5100 Å. The profiles of these quasars’ broad Hβ emission lines span a full width at half maximum from 3000 to 6000 km s−1. The Hβ-based virial black hole (BH) masses, ranging from 0.6 to 2.1 billion solar masses, are generally consistent with their Mg ii-based BH masses. The new measurements based on the more reliable Hβ tracer thus confirm the existence of a billion solar-mass BHs in the reionization epoch. In the observed [O iii] λ λ 4960,5008 doublets of these luminous quasars, broad components are more common than narrow core components (≤ 1200 km s−1), and only one quasar shows stronger narrow components than broad. Two quasars exhibit significantly broad and blueshifted [O iii] emission, thought to trace galactic-scale outflows, with median velocities of −610 and −1430 km s−1 relative to the [C ii] 158 μm line. All eight quasars show strong optical Fe ii emission and follow the eigenvector 1 relations defined by low-redshift quasars. The entire ASPIRE program will eventually cover 25 quasars and provide a statistical sample for the studies of the BHs and quasar spectral properties.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberL5
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Volume951
Issue number1
Early online date29 Jun 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023

Keywords

  • Reionization
  • Quasars
  • Supermassive black holes

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