LBQS 0103-2753: A Binary Quasar In A Major Merger
We present Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and United Kingdom Infrared Telescope spectra and images of the 2 kpc (0.'' 3) binary quasar LBQS 0103-2753 (z = 0.858). The HST images (V and I bands) show tidal features demonstrating that this system is a major galaxy merger in progress. A two-color composite image brings out knots of star formation along the tidal arc and elsewhere. The infrared spectrum shows that both objects are at the same redshift and that the discrepant redshift of C IV in component A is not representative of the true systemic redshift of this component. LBQS 0103-2753 is one of the most closely spaced binary QSOs known and is one of the relatively few dual active galactic nuclei showing confirmed broad emission lines from both components. While statistical studies of binary QSOs suggest that simultaneous fueling of both black holes during a merger may be relatively rare, LBQS 0103-2753 demonstrates that such fueling can occur at high luminosity at a late stage in the merger at nuclear spacing of only a few kpc, without severe obscuration of the nuclei.