BL Lacertae objects beyond redshift 1.3 - UV-to-NIR photometry and photometric redshift for Fermi/LAT blazars

A. Rau, P. Schady, J. Greiner, M. Salvato, M. Ajello, E. Bottacini, N. Gehrels, P.~M.~J. Afonso, J. Elliott, R. Filgas, D.~A. Kann, S. Klose, T. Krühler, M. Nardini, A. Nicuesa Guelbenzu, F. Olivares E., A. Rossi, V. Sudilovsky, A.~C. Updike, D.~H. Hartmann

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72 Citations (SciVal)


Context. Observations of the γ-ray sky with Fermi led to significant advances towards understanding blazars, the most extreme class of active galactic nuclei. A large fraction of the population detected by Fermi is formed by BL Lacertae (BL Lac) objects, whose sample has always suffered from a severe redshift incompleteness due to the quasi-featureless optical spectra.
Aims. Our goal is to provide a significant increase of the number of confirmed high-redshift BL Lac objects contained in the 2 LAC Fermi/LAT cataloge.
Methods. For 103 Fermi/LAT blazars, photometric redshifts using spectral energy distribution fitting have been obtained. The photometry includes 13 broad-band filters from the far ultraviolet to the near-IR observed with Swift/UVOT and the multi-channel imager GROND at the MPG/ESO 2.2 m telescope. Data have been taken quasi-simultaneously and the remaining source-intrinsic variability has been corrected for.
Results. We release the UV-to-near-IR 13-band photometry for all 103 sources and provide redshift constraints for 75 sources without previously known redshift. Out of those, eight have reliable photometric redshifts at z1.3, while for the other 67 sources we provide upper limits. Six of the former eight are BL Lac objects, which quadruples the sample of confirmed high-redshift BL Lac. This includes three sources with redshifts higher than the previous record for BL Lac, including CRATES J0402-2615, with the best-fit solution at z ≈ 1.9.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA26
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Early online date27 Jan 2012
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


  • galaxies
  • distances and redshifts
  • techniques
  • photometric
  • BL Lacertae objects


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