Variability-selected quasars in MACHO project magellanic cloud fields

M. Geha, C. Alcock, R. A. Allsman, D. R. Alves, T. S. Axelrod, A. C. Becker, D. P. Bennett, K. H. Cook, A. J. Drake, K. C. Freeman, K. Griest, S. C. Keller, M. J. Lehner, S. L. Marshall, D. Minniti, C. A. Nelson, B. A. Peterson, P. Popowski, M. R. Pratt, P. J. QuinnC. W. Stubbs, W. Sutherland, A. B. Tomaney, T. Vandehei, D. L. Welch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


We present 47 spectroscopically confirmed quasars discovered behind the Magellanic Clouds identified via photometric variability in the MACHO database. Thirty-eight quasars lie behind the Large Magellanic Cloud and nine behind the Small Magellanic Cloud, more than tripling the number of quasars previously known in this region. The quasars cover the redshift interval 0.2 < z < 2.8 and have apparent mean magnitudes 16.6 ≤ V̄ ≤ 20.1. We discuss the details of quasar candidate selection based on time variability in the MACHO database and present results of spectroscopic follow-up observations. Our follow-up detection efficiency was 20%; the primary contaminants were emission-line Be stars in Magellanic Clouds. For the 47 quasars discovered behind the Magellanic Clouds, plus an additional 12 objects previously identified in this region, we present 7.5 yr MACHO V- and R-band light curves with average sampling times of 2-10 days.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number1 1765
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2003


  • Magellanic Clouds
  • Quasars: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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