The WISSH Quasar Project

The WISE/SDSS-selected hyper-luminous quasar (WISSH) survey is an extensive multi-band observing program (from millimeter wavelengths to hard X-rays) to investigate the role of nuclear activity in SMBH-galaxy self-regulated growth via extended outflows. Our ongoing project is designed to accurately probe the relationship between nuclear and host galaxy ISM properties in a unique sample of ~ 90 quasars at the brightest end of the AGN luminosity function (i.e., bolometric luminosity > 8e13 Lsun), and at the peak of their number density (z~2.5-3.5). This OAR-led project involves more than twenty researchers from Italy and foreign institutions.

The most relevant results obtained to date by WISSH can be summarized as follows:

– the  discovery of highly accreting (i.e., Eddington ratios of ~0.3-3), ten billion solar masses SMBHs producing extremely powerful (up to ~ 4% of the bolometric luminosity), large-scale, ionized outflows;

– the co-existence of very intense star formation rates (SFR up to few thousands solar masses per year) and prodigious AGN luminosities;

– the relative X-ray weakness of WISSH quasars when compared to IR and optical properties, with respect to less powerful, well-studied AGN typically sampled in medium/deep survey fields. 

-the discovery of very fast winds in the BLR detected by the study of the CIV line profile which show a velocity anti-correlated with the strenght of the X-ray emission

The WISSH project is based on JVLA, ALMA, NOEMA, Herschel/SPIRE, WISE, ESO/SINFONI, ESO/X-Shooter, ESO/MUSE, LBT/LUCI, 2MASS, HST, SDSS, Chandra and XMM-Newton data. 

General presentations about the WISSH Project can be found here (X-ray Universe 2017, EWASS2017 I, EWASS2017 II, , AGN13-2018-Milan, ).

The first series of WISSH papers (I-V) has been completed in 2018. The second series of papers (VI-XI) is planned for completion in 2020. The list of publications is continuously updated:

M. Bischetti et al.  “Paper I. Powerful ionized outflows in hyper-luminous quasars”

(2017, A&A, 598, A122) 

F. Duras et al. “Paper II. Giant star nurseries in hyper-luminous quasars

(2017, A&A, 604, A67)

S. Martocchia et al.  “Paper III. X-ray properties of hyper-luminous quasars”

(2017, A&A, 608, A51) 

G. Vietri et al.  “Paper IV. Broad line region versus kiloparsec-scale winds” (2018, A&A, 617, A81)

M. Bischetti et al.  “Paper V. ALMA reveals the assembly of a giant galaxy around a z=4.4  hyper-luminous quasar” (2018, A&A, 617, A82)

G. Bruni et al. Paper VI. Fraction and Properties of BAL quasars in the hyper-luminous regime  (2019, A&A, 630, A111)

L. Zappacosta et al. “Paper VII. The impact of extreme radiative field in the accretion and X-ray disk corona interplay” (2020, A&A, 635, L5)

A. Travascio et al. “Paper VIII. Outflow and metals in the CGM around the hyper-luminous z~3.6 quasar J1538+08 (2020, A&A, 635, A157)

M. Bischetti et al. “Paper IX. Cold gas content and environment of luminous quasars at z~2.4-4.7 (2020, Accepted for publication in A&A)

G. Vietri et al. “Paper X. Discovery of an ultra-fast BAL outflow” (in prep.)

A. Bongiorno et al. “Paper XI. Probing the SED of hyper-luminous quasars at cosmic noon” (in prep.)

WISSH Core Team at OAR: M. Bischetti,  A. Bongiorno, F. Duras, E. Piconcelli, V. Testa, A. Travascio, L. Zappacosta. Collaborators: E. Giallongo, F. Nicastro, R. Vailante,

Extra-OAR WISSH Core team members: G. Bruni (INAF-IAPS), M. Brusa (UniBo), C. Feruglio, F. Fiore  (INAF-OATS), F. La Franca (UniRoma3), V. Mainieri (ESO),  S. Martocchia (JMU-Liverpool), A. Marconi (UniFi), G. Vietri (INAF-Milan), C. Vignali (UniBo), E. Sani (ESO-Chile)

Contact: Enrico Piconcelli (