Aims. We attempt to determine the spectroscopic redshifts of bright BL Lac objects, which have proven difficult to measure. Methods. We use the spectra acquired using the newly available spectrograph X-Shooter at the European Southern Observatory Very Large Telescope, which combines high resolution with a large wavelength range, to obtain ultraviolet to near-infrared spectra of BL Lacs. Results. Our observations of PKS 0048-097 detect three emission lines, which permit us to derive a redshift z = 0.635. Moreover, we discover a Mg II absorption system at z = 0.154 that is associated with a foreground spiral galaxy a 50 kpc of projected distance. Conclusions. The measured redshift allows us to discuss the optical beaming factor and the absorption of the high energy spectrum by the extragalactic background light.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science