Blazar candidates beyond redshift 4 observed with GROND

T. Sbarrato, G. Ghisellini, M. Nardini, G. Tagliaferri, J. Greiner, A. Rau, P. Schady

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29 Citations (SciVal)


The search for extremely massive high-redshift blazars is essential to put strong constraints on the supermassive black hole formation theories. Up to now, the few blazars known to have a redshift larger than 4 have been discovered serendipitously. We try a more systematic approach. Assuming radio-loudness as a proxy for the jet orientation, we select a sample of extremely radio-loud quasars. We measure their black hole masses with a method based on fitting the thermal emission from the accretion disc. We achieve a precision of a factor of 2 for our measures, thanks to the observations performed with the Gamma-Ray Burst Optical Near-Infrared Detector (GROND). The infrared to optical GROND data allow us to observe directly the peak of the disc emission, thus constraining the overall disc luminosity. We obtain a small range of masses that peak at 109.3 M⊙. If some of our candidates will be confirmed as blazars, these results would introduce interesting constraints on the mass function of extremely massive black holes at very high redshift. Moreover, all our blazar candidates have high accretion rates. This result, along with the high masses, opens an interesting view on the need of a fast growth of the heaviest black holes at very high redshift.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2182-2193
Number of pages12
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2013


  • Cosmology and Nongalactic
  • radiation mechanisms
  • thermal
  • galaxies
  • quasars
  • infrared
  • Astrophysics


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