November 2019 • 2019A&A...631A..85E
Abstract • We provide predictions of the yield of 7 < z < 9 quasars from the Euclid wide survey, updating the calculation presented in the Euclid Red Book in several ways. We account for revisions to the Euclid near-infrared filter wavelengths; we adopt steeper rates of decline of the quasar luminosity function (QLF; Φ) with redshift, Φ ∝ 10k(z - 6), k = -0.72, and a further steeper rate of decline, k = -0.92; we use better models of the contaminating populations (MLT dwarfs and compact early-type galaxies); and we make use of an improved Bayesian selection method, compared to the colour cuts used for the Red Book calculation, allowing the identification of fainter quasars, down to JAB ∼ 23. Quasars at z > 8 may be selected from Euclid OYJH photometry alone, but selection over the redshift interval 7 < z < 8 is greatly improved by the addition of z-band data from, e.g., Pan-STARRS and LSST. We calculate predicted quasar yields for the assumed values of the rate of decline of the QLF beyond z = 6. If the decline of the QLF accelerates beyond z = 6, with k = -0.92, Euclid should nevertheless find over 100 quasars with 7.0 < z < 7.5, and ∼25 quasars beyond the current record of z = 7.5, including ∼8 beyond z = 8.0. The first Euclid quasars at z > 7.5 should be found in the DR1 data release, expected in 2024. It will be possible to determine the bright-end slope of the QLF, 7 < z < 8, M1450 < -25, using 8 m class telescopes to confirm candidates, but follow-up with JWST or E-ELT will be required to measure the faint-end slope. Contamination of the candidate lists is predicted to be modest even at JAB ∼ 23. The precision with which k can be determined over 7 < z < 8 depends on the value of k, but assuming k = -0.72 it can be measured to a 1σ uncertainty of 0.07.