The 2dF QSO Redshift Survey - I. The optical luminosity function of quasi-stellar objects

BJ Boyle*, T Shanks, SM Croom, RJ Smith, L Miller, N Loaring, C Heymans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a determination of the optical luminosity function of quasi-stellar objects (QSOs) and its cosmological evolution with redshift for a sample of over 6000 QSOs identified primarily from the first observations of the 2dF QSO Redshift Survey (2QZ), For QSOs with -26 <M-B <-23 and 0.35 <z <2.3, we find that pure luminosity evolution (PLE) models provide an acceptable fit to the observed redshift dependence of the luminosity function (LF). The LF is best fitted by a two-power-law function of the form Phi(L-B) proportional to [(L-B/L-B*)(alpha) + (L-B/L-B*)(beta)](-1). Exponential luminosity evolution models, both as a function of look-back time, L-B*(z) = L-B*(0)e(k1 tau), and as a general second-order polynomial, L-B*(z) proportional to 10(k1z+k2z2), were found to provide acceptable fits to the data set comprising the 2QZ and the Large Bright Quasar Survey. Exponential evolution with look-back time is preferred for q(0) = 0.05, while the polynomial evolution model is preferred for q(0) = 0.5, The shape and evolution of the LF at low redshifts (z <0.5) and/or high luminosities, not currently well sampled by the 2QZ survey, may show departures from pure luminosity evolution, but the results presented here show that, over a significant range of redshift, PLE is a good description of QSO evolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1014-1022
Number of pages9
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2000


  • methods : data analysis
  • surveys
  • galaxies : active
  • galaxies : fundamental
  • parameters
  • quasars : general
  • cosmology : observations


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