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SDSS quasars in the WISE preliminary data release and quasar candidate selection with optical/infrared colors

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DOI: 10.1088/0004-6256/144/2/49
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We present a catalog of 37,842 quasars in the SDSS Data Release 7, which have counterparts within 6" in the WISE Preliminary Data Release. The overall WISE detection rate of the SDSS quasars is 86.7%, and it decreases to less than 50.0% when the quasar magnitude is fainter than $i=20.5$. We derive the median color-redshift relations based on this SDSS-WISE quasar sample and apply them to estimate the photometric redshifts of the SDSS-WISE quasars. We find that by adding the WISE W1- and W2-band data to the SDSS photometry we can increase the photometric redshift reliability, defined as the percentage of sources with the photometric and spectroscopic redshift difference less than 0.2, from 70.3% to 77.2%. We also obtain the samples of WISE-detected normal and late-type stars with SDSS spectroscopy, and present a criterion in the $z-W1$ versus $g-z$ color-color diagram, $z-W1>0.66(g-z)+2.01$, to separate quasars from stars. With this criterion we can recover 98.6% of 3089 radio-detected SDSS-WISE quasars with redshifts less than four and overcome the difficulty in selecting quasars with redshifts between 2.2 and 3 from SDSS photometric data alone. We also suggest another criterion involving the WISE color only, $W1-W2>0.57$, to efficiently separate quasars with redshifts less than 3.2 from stars. In addition, we compile a catalog of 5614 SDSS quasars detected by both WISE and UKIDSS surveys and present their color-redshift relations in the optical and infrared bands. By using the SDSS $ugriz$, UKIDSS YJHK and WISE W1- and W2-band photometric data, we can efficiently select quasar candidates and increase the photometric redshift reliability up to 87.0%. We discuss the implications of our results on the future quasar surveys. An updated SDSS-WISE quasar catalog consisting of 101,853 quasars with the recently released WISE all-sky data is also provided.


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