The galaxy environment of quasars in the Clowes-Campusano Large Quasar Group
Quasars have been used as efficient probes of high-redshift galaxy clustering as they are known to favour overdense environments. Quasars may also trace the largescale structure of the early universe (0.4 1< z <1 2) in the form of Large Quasar Groups(LQGs), which have comparable sizes (r.J 100-200hMpc) to the largest structures seen at the present epoch. This thesis describes an ultra-deep, wide-field optical study of a region containing three quasars from the largest known LJQG, the Clowes-Campusano LQG of at least 18 quasars at z 1.3, to examine their galaxy environments and to find indications of any associated large-scale structure in the form of galaxies. The optical data were obtained using the Big Throughput Camera (BTC) on the 4-m Blanco telescope at the Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory (CTIO) over two nights in April 1998, resulting in ultra-deep V, I imaging of a 40.6 x 34.9 arcmin 2 field centred at l0L47m30s, +05 0 30'00" containing three quasars from the LQG as well as four quasars at higher redshifts. The final catalogues contain 10 sources and are 50% complete to V 26.35 and I 25.85 in the fully exposed areas. The Cluster Red Sequence method of Gladders & Yee (2000) is used to identify and characterise galaxy clusters in the BTC field. The method is motivated by the observation that the bulk of early-type galaxies in all rich clusters lie along a tight, linear colour-magnitude relation - the cluster red sequence - which evolves with redshift, allowing the cluster redshift to be estimated from the colour of the red sequence. The method is applied to the detection of high-redshift clusters in the BTC field through the selection of galaxies redder than the expected colour of the z = 0.5 red sequence. A 2c excess of these red galaxies is found in the BTC field in comparison to the 27arcmin 2 ETS-DEEP HDF-South field. These galaxies are shown from the EIS-DEEP UBVRIJHK 3 photometry to hearly-type galaxies at 0.7 1< z 1.5. This excess, corresponding to 1000 extra red galaxies over the BTC field, along with the 3c excess of Mgti absorbers observed at 1.2 < z < 1.3(Williger et al., 2000), supports the hypothesis that the Clowes-Campusano LQG traces a large-scale structure in the form of galaxies at z 1.3. Four high-redshift cluster candidates are found, one of which is confirmed by additional K data to be at z = 0.8 + 0.1. Two of the high-redshift clusters are associated with quasars: the z = 1.426 quasar is located on the periphery of a cluster of V - I 3 galaxies; and the z = 1.226 LQC quasar is found within a large-scale structure of 100-150 red galaxies extending over 2-3h'Mpc. Additional K imaging confirms their association with the quasar, with red sequences at V - K 6.9 and I - K 4.3 indicating a population of 15-18 massive ellipticals at z = 1.2 ± 0.1 that are concentrated in two groups on either side of the quasar. The four z ± 1.3 quasars in the BTC field are found in a wide variety of environments,from those indistinguishable from the field, to being associated with rich clusters, but are on average in overdense regions comparable to poor clusters. These results are similar to those of previous studies of quasars at these redshifts, and are consistent with the quasars being hosted by massive ellipticals which trace mass in the same biased manner. It is also notable how the quasars associated with clustering are located on the cluster peripheries rather than in the high-density cluster cores, a result which is initially surprising given that quasars are thought to be hosted by massive elliptical galaxies, but in retrospect can be understood in the framework of both galaxy interaction and galaxy formation quasar triggering mechanisms.