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Astron. Astrophys. 353, 853-860 (2000)

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The bright end of the QSO luminosity function

Lutz Wisotzki

Hamburger Sternwarte, Gojenbergsweg 112, 21029 Hamburg (lwisotzki@hs.uni-hamburg.de)

Received 9 April 1999 / Accepted 5 November 1999


We have analysed the optical luminosity-redshift distribution properties of bright QSOs, using a new large sample from the Hamburg/ESO survey. The sample provides insight into the hitherto poorly sampled bright tail of the luminosity function, allowing to monitor its evolution with redshift up to [FORMULA]. The slope increases significantly towards higher z, inconsistent with the predictions of pure luminosity evolution, but also with other recently proposed parameterisations. This phenomenon is opposite to what would be expected from gravitational lensing, showing that magnification bias does not significantly distort the QSO luminosity function within the redshift range covered. The space density of high-luminosity QSOs continues to increase up to the high-redshift limit of the survey, without indication of reduced evolution above [FORMULA]. The sample also permits an improved estimate of the local ([FORMULA]) luminosity function of QSOs and bright Seyfert 1 nuclei, over the luminosity range [FORMULA]. No evidence for a break or change of slope is found down to absolute magnitudes [FORMULA].

Key words: galaxies: quasars: general – galaxies: Seyfert – galaxies: evolution – galaxies: luminosity function, mass function – cosmology: observations – cosmology: gravitational lensing

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 2000

Online publication: January 18, 2000