Dissecting Photometric Redshift for Active Galactic Nucleus Using XMM- and Chandra-COSMOS Samples

M. Salvato*, O. Ilbert, G. Hasinger, A. Rau, F. Civano, G. Zamorani, M. Brusa, M. Elvis, C. Vignali, H. Aussel, A. Comastri, F. Fiore, E. Le Floc'h, V. Mainieri, S. Bardelli, M. Bolzonella, A. Bongiorno, P. Capak, K. Caputi, N. CappellutiC. M. Carollo, T. Contini, B. Garilli, A. Iovino, S. Fotopoulou, A. Fruscione, R. Gilli, C. Halliday, J. -P. Kneib, Y. Kakazu, J. S. Kartaltepe, A. M. Koekemoer, K. Kovac, Y. Ideue, H. Ikeda, C. D. Impey, O. Le Fevre, F. Lamareille, G. Lanzuisi, J. -F. Le Borgne, V. Le Brun, S. Lilly, C. Maier, S. Manohar, D. Masters, H. McCracken, H. Messias, M. Mignoli, B. Mobasher, T. Nagao, R. Pello, S. Puccetti, E. Perez-Montero, A. Renzini, M. Sargent, D. B. Sanders, M. Scodeggio, N. Scoville, P. Shopbell, J. Silvermann, Y. Taniguchi, L. Tasca, L. Tresse, J. R. Trump, E. Zucca

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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In this paper, we release accurate photometric redshifts for 1692 counterparts to Chandra sources in the central square degree of the Cosmic Evolution Survey (COSMOS) field. The availability of a large training set of spectroscopic redshifts that extends to faint magnitudes enabled photometric redshifts comparable to the highest quality results presently available for normal galaxies. We demonstrate that morphologically extended, faint X-ray sources without optical variability are more accurately described by a library of normal galaxies (corrected for emission lines) than by active galactic nucleus (AGN) dominated templates, even if these sources have AGN-like X-ray luminosities. Preselecting the library on the bases of the source properties allowed us to reach an accuracy \sigma _{\Delta z/(1+z_{spec})}\sim 0.015 with a fraction of outliers of 5.8% for the entire Chandra-COSMOS sample. In addition, we release revised photometric redshifts for the 1735 optical counterparts of the XMM-detected sources over the entire 2 deg2 of COSMOS. For 248 sources, our updated photometric redshift differs from the previous release by Δz > 0.2. These changes are predominantly due to the inclusion of newly available deep H-band photometry (H AB = 24 mag). We illustrate once again the importance of a spectroscopic training sample and how an assumption about the nature of a source together, with the number and the depth of the available bands, influences the accuracy of the photometric redshifts determined for AGN. These considerations should be kept in mind when defining the observational strategies of upcoming large surveys targeting AGNs, such as eROSITA at X-ray energies and the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder Evolutionary Map of the Universe in the radio band. Based on observations by the Chandra X-ray Observatory Center, which is operated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory for and on behalf of the National Aeronautics Space Administration under contract NAS8-03060. Also based on observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by AURA Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555. Also based on observations made with the Spitzer Space Telescope, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under NASA contract 1407. Also based on data collected at the Subaru Telescope, which is operated by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan; the XMM-Newton, an ESA science mission with instruments and contributions directly funded by ESA Member States and NASA; the European Southern Observatory under Large Program 175.A-0839, Chile; the Kitt Peak National Observatory, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, which are operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA), under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation; the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope with MegaPrime/MegaCam operated as a joint project by the CFHT Corporation, CEA/DAPNIA, the NRC and CADC of Canada, the CNRS of France, TERAPIX, and the University of Hawaii.
Original languageEnglish
Article number61
Number of pages15
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2011


  • galaxies: active
  • galaxies: distances and redshifts
  • methods: data analysis
  • surveys
  • techniques: photometric
  • X-rays: galaxies

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