Author(s): , , , , , , , ,
Institution(s): 1. Institute for Astronomy, 2. Johns Hopkins University, 3. Osservatorio astronomico di Trieste, 4. Princeton University, 5. University of Florida, 6. University of St. Andrews
Red quasars are believed to mark a critical transition stage of massive galaxy evolution when a blowout of gas and dust truncates the initial starburst and provides our first visible views of a luminous central AGN. Red quasars could therefore have unusual properties associated with a young evolution stage, such as higher accretion rates, higher rates of mergers and interactions, and more common or more powerful outflows capable of driving a galaxy-wide blowout (e.g., compared to normal blue quasars in presumably more evolved galaxy hosts). The recently completed Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopy Survey (BOSS) of SDSS-III has discovered many more faint quasars with higher redshifts and redder colors than any previous large survey. We combine BOSS spectra with SDSS and Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) photometry of nearly 100,000 quasars to identify and characterize the red quasar population at redshifts >2. We find a number of strong trends with the amount of reddening/obscuration. For example, red quasars are 5 to 8 times more likely to have broad absorption lines and other "intrinsic" absorption lines that identify quasar-driven outflows. Perhaps most interesting is that extreme red quasars (ERQs), selected via rest-frame UV to near-IR colors similar to Dust Obscured Galaxies (DOGs), have uniquely exotic emission line properties that include extreme velocity shifts between lines and the broadest and most blueshifted [OIII] lines yet discovered (with FWHMs reaching >3000 km/s). We will discuss the implications of these results for models of the structure and evolution of quasars and their host galaxy environments.