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The Astrophysical Journal


We examine the spatial extent of the narrow-line regions (NLRs) of a sample of 30 luminous obscured quasars at 0.4 < z < 0.7 observed with spatially resolved Gemini-N GMOS long-slit spectroscopy. Using the [O III] λ5007 emission feature, we estimate the size of the NLR using a cosmology-independent measurement: the radius where the surface brightness falls to 10–15 erg s–1 cm–2 arcsec–2. We then explore the effects of atmospheric seeing on NLR size measurements and conclude that direct measurements of the NLR size from observed profiles are too large by 0.1-0.2 dex on average, as compared to measurements made to best-fit Sérsic or Voigt profiles convolved with the seeing. These data, which span a full order of magnitude in IR luminosity (log (L 8 μm/erg s–1) = 44.4-45.4), also provide strong evidence that there is a flattening of the relationship between NLR size and active galactic nucleus luminosity at a seeing-corrected size of ~7 kpc. The objects in this sample have high luminosities which place them in a previously under-explored portion of the size-luminosity relationship. These results support the existence of a maximal size of the NLR around luminous quasars; beyond this size, there is either not enough gas or the gas is over-ionized and does not produce enough [O III] λ5007 emission.