On-axis spatially resolved spectroscopy of low redshift quasar host galaxies: HE 1503+0228, at z = 0.135

F. Courbin, G. Letawe, P. Magain, L. Wisotzki, P. Jablonka, K. Jahnke, B. Kuhlbrodt, D. Alloin, G. Meylan, D. Minniti, I. Burud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


We present the first result of a comprehensive spectroscopic study of quasar host galaxies. On-axis, spatially resolved spectra of low redshift quasars have been obtained with FORS1, mounted on the 8.2 m ESO Very Large Telescope, Antu. The spectra are spatially deconvolved using a spectroscopic version of the "MCS deconvolution algorithm". The algorithm decomposes two dimensional spectra into the individual spectra of the central point-like nucleus and of its host galaxy. Applied to HE 1503+0228 at z = 0.135 (MB = -23.0), it provides us with the spectrum of the host galaxy between 3600 Å and 8500 Å (rest-frame), at a mean resolving power of 700. The data allow us to measure several of the important Lick indices. The stellar populations and gas ionization state of the host galaxy of HE 1503+0228 are very similar to the ones measured for normal non-AGN galaxies. Dynamical information is also available for the gas and stellar components of the galaxy. Using deconvolution and a deprojection algorithm, velocity curves are derived for emission lines, from the center up to 4″ away from the nucleus of the galaxy. Fitting a simple three-components mass model (point mass, spherical halo of dark matter, disk) to the position-velocity diagram, we infer a mass of M(r < 1 kpc) = (2.0 ± 0.3) × 1010 M within the central kiloparsec of the galaxy, and a mass integrated over 10 kpc of M(r < 10 kpc) = (1.9 ± 0.3) × 1011 M, with an additional 10% error due to the uncertainty on the inclination of the galaxy. This, in combination with the analysis of the stellar populations indicates that the host galaxy of HE 1503+0228 is a normal spiral galaxy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)863-872
Number of pages10
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2002


  • Galaxies: kinematics and dynamics
  • Galaxies: stellar content
  • Quasars: individual: HE 1503+0228
  • Techniques: image processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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