Enhancement of Galaxy Overdensity around Quasar Pairs at z<3.6 based on the Hyper Suprime-Cam Subaru Strategic Program Survey

We investigate the galaxy overdensity around <2 pMpc-scale quasar pairs at high (z>3) and low (z~1) redshift based on the unprecedentedly wide and deep optical survey of the Hyper Suprime-Cam Subaru Strategic Program (HSC-SSP). Using the first-year survey data covering effectively ~121 deg2 in full-color and depth, we find two luminous pairs at z~3.6 and 3.3 which reside in $>5 \sigma$ overdense regions of g-dropout galaxies. The projected separations of the two pairs are $R_\perp=$1.75 and 1.04 pMpc, and their velocity offsets are $\Delta V=692$ and $1448$ km s$^{-1}$, respectively. This is in clear contrast to the average quasar environments in the same redshift range as discussed in Uchiyama et al. (2017), and implies that the quasar activity of the two pairs is triggered via major mergers in proto-clusters, unlike the vast majority of isolated quasars in general fields that may turn on due to non-merger events such as bar and disk instabilities. At z~1, we find 37 pairs in the current HSC-Wide coverage with $R_\perp<2$ pMpc and $\Delta V<2300$ km s$^{-1}$ including four from Hennawi et al. (2006). The distribution of the peak overdensity significance within two arcminutes around the pairs has a long tail toward high density ($>4\sigma$) regions. Thanks to the large sample size, we find a statistical evidence that this excess is unique in the pair environments when compared to single quasar and randomly-selected galaxy environments. Moreover, there are nine small-scale pairs with $R_\perp<1$ pMpc, two of which are found to reside in cluster fields. Our results demonstrate that quasar pairs at z~1-4 tend to occur in massive haloes, although perhaps not the most massive ones, and that they can be used to search for rare density peaks especially at high redshifts.

Comments: 21 pages, 9 figures, 6 tables, submitted to PASJ special issue

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