We present an analysis of the broadband UV and optical properties of z ≲ 3.4 quasars matched in the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) General Data Release 1 (GR1) and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Data Release 3 (DR3). Of the 6371 SDSS DR3 quasars covered by 204 GALEX GR1 tiles, 5380 (84%) have near-UV detections, while 3034 (48%) have both near-UV and far-UV detections using a matching radius of 7″. Most of the DR3 sample quasars are detected in the near-UV until z ∼ 1.7, with the near-UV detection fraction dropping to ∼50% by z ∼ 2. Statistical tests performed on the distributions of nondetections indicate that the optically selected quasars missed in the UV tend to be optically faint or at high redshift. The GALEX positions are shown to be consistent with the SDSS astrometry to within an rms scatter of 0.6″-0.7″ in each coordinate, and the empirically determined photometric errors from multiepoch GALEX observations significantly exceed the Poissonian errors quoted in the GR1 object catalogs. The UV-detected quasars are well separated from stars in UV-optical color-color space, with the UV-optical relative colors suggesting a marginally detected population of reddened objects due to absorption along the line of sight or dust associated with the quasar. The resulting spectral energy distributions (SEDs) cover ∼350-9000 Å (rest frame), where the overall median SED peaks near the Lyα emission line, as found in other UV quasar studies. The large sample size allows us to construct median SEDs in small bins of redshift and luminosity, and we find that the median SED becomes harder (bluer) at UV wavelengths for quasars with lower continuum luminosity. The detected UV-optical flux as a function of redshift is qualitatively consistent with attenuation by intervening Lyman-absorbing clouds. A table containing the 6371 DR3 quasars covered by GALEX GR1 and the results of the matching is available in the electronic edition of the journal, and a table containing the overall median SED is also available.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science