Radio through x-ray spectral energy distributions of 38 broad absorption line quasars

S. C. Gallagher, D. C. Hines, Myra Blaylock, R. S. Priddey, W. N. Brandt, E. E. Egami

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We have compiled the largest sample of multiwavelength spectral energy distributions (SEDs) of broad absorption line (BAL) quasars to date, from the radio to the X-ray. We present new Spitzer MIPS (24, 70, and 160 μm) observations of 38 BAL quasars in addition to data from the literature and public archives. In general, the mid-infrared properties of BAL quasars are consistent with those of non-BAL quasars of comparable luminosity. In particular, the optical to mid-infrared luminosity ratios of the two populations are indistinguishable. We also measure or place upper limits on the contribution of star formation to the far-infrared power. Of 22 (57%) upper limits, seven quasars have sufficiently sensitive constraints to conclude that star formation likely contributes little (<20%) to their far-infrared power. The 17 BAL quasars (45%) with detected excess far-infrared emission likely host hyperluminous starbursts with LFIR, SF, = 1013-10 14 L. Mid-infrared through X-ray composite BAL quasar SEDs are presented, incorporating all of the available photometry. Overall, we find no compelling evidence for inherent differences between the SEDs of BAL versus non-BAL quasars of comparable luminosity. Therefore a "cocoon" picture of a typical BAL quasar outflow whereby the wind covers a large fraction of the sky is not supported by the mid-infrared SED comparison with normal quasars, and the disk-wind paradigm with a typical radio-quiet quasar hosting a B AL region remains viable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-173
Number of pages17
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART 1
StatePublished - Aug 10 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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    Gallagher, S. C., Hines, D. C., Blaylock, M., Priddey, R. S., Brandt, W. N., & Egami, E. E. (2007). Radio through x-ray spectral energy distributions of 38 broad absorption line quasars. Astrophysical Journal, 665(1 PART 1), 157-173.