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Remnant radio galaxies discovered in a multi-frequency survey

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 February 2021

Benjamin Quici*
Affiliation:
International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, Curtin University, Bentley, WA6102, Australia
Natasha Hurley-Walker
Affiliation:
International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, Curtin University, Bentley, WA6102, Australia
Nicholas Seymour
Affiliation:
International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, Curtin University, Bentley, WA6102, Australia
Ross J. Turner
Affiliation:
School of Natural Sciences, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 37, Hobart, 7001, Australia
Stanislav S. Shabala
Affiliation:
School of Natural Sciences, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 37, Hobart, 7001, Australia ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions (ASTRO 3D)
Minh Huynh
Affiliation:
CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science, 26 Dick Perry Avenue, Kensington, WA6151, Australia
H. Andernach
Affiliation:
Depto. de Astronomía, DCNE, Universidad de Guanajuato, Cjón. de Jalisco s/n, Guanajuato, CP36023, Mexico
Anna D. Kapińska
Affiliation:
National Radio Astronomy Observatory, 1003 Lopezville Road, Socorro, NM87801, USA
Jordan D. Collier
Affiliation:
CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science (CASS), Marsfield, NSW2122, Australia School of Science, Western Sydney University, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW2751, Australia The Inter-University Institute for Data Intensive Astronomy (IDIA), Department of Astronomy, University of Cape Town, Private Bag X3, Rondebosch, 7701, South Africa
Melanie Johnston-Hollitt
Affiliation:
International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, Curtin University, Bentley, WA6102, Australia
Sarah V. White
Affiliation:
International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, Curtin University, Bentley, WA6102, Australia Department of Physics and Electronics, Rhodes University, PO Box 94, Grahamstown, 6140, South Africa
Isabella Prandoni
Affiliation:
Istituto di Radioastronomia, Via P. Gobetti 101, 40129, Italy
Timothy J. Galvin
Affiliation:
CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science, 26 Dick Perry Avenue, Kensington, WA6151, Australia
Thomas Franzen
Affiliation:
International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, Curtin University, Bentley, WA6102, Australia ASTRON: the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, PO Box 2, 7990AA, Dwingeloo, The Netherlands
C. H. Ishwara-Chandra
Affiliation:
National Centre for Radio Astrophysics, TIFR, Post Bag No. 3, Ganeshkhind Post, 411007Pune, India
Sabine Bellstedt
Affiliation:
International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, M468, University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA6009, Australia
Steven J. Tingay
Affiliation:
International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, Curtin University, Bentley, WA6102, Australia
Bryan M. Gaensler
Affiliation:
Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Toronto, 50 St. George Street, TorontoONM5S 3H4, Canada
Andrew O’Brien
Affiliation:
School of Science, Western Sydney University, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW2751, Australia CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science, PO Box 76, 1710, Epping, NSW, Australia Center for Gravitation, Cosmology, and Astrophysics, Department of Physics, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, P.O. Box 413, Milwaukee, WI53201, USA
Johnathan Rogers
Affiliation:
School of Natural Sciences, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 37, Hobart, 7001, Australia
Kate Chow
Affiliation:
CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science, PO Box 76, 1710, Epping, NSW, Australia
Simon Driver
Affiliation:
International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, M468, University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA6009, Australia
Aaron Robotham
Affiliation:
International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, M468, University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA6009, Australia
*
Author for correspondence: B. Quici, E-mail: benjamin.quici@icrar.org

Abstract

The remnant phase of a radio galaxy begins when the jets launched from an active galactic nucleus are switched off. To study the fraction of radio galaxies in a remnant phase, we take advantage of a $8.31$ deg$^2$ subregion of the GAMA 23 field which comprises of surveys covering the frequency range 0.1–9 GHz. We present a sample of 104 radio galaxies compiled from observations conducted by the Murchison Widefield Array (216 MHz), the Australia Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder (887 MHz), and the Australia Telescope Compact Array (5.5 GHz). We adopt an ‘absent radio core’ criterion to identify 10 radio galaxies showing no evidence for an active nucleus. We classify these as new candidate remnant radio galaxies. Seven of these objects still display compact emitting regions within the lobes at 5.5 GHz; at this frequency the emission is short-lived, implying a recent jet switch off. On the other hand, only three show evidence of aged lobe plasma by the presence of an ultra-steep-spectrum ($\alpha<-1.2$) and a diffuse, low surface brightness radio morphology. The predominant fraction of young remnants is consistent with a rapid fading during the remnant phase. Within our sample of radio galaxies, our observations constrain the remnant fraction to $4\%\lesssim f_{\mathrm{rem}} \lesssim 10\%$; the lower limit comes from the limiting case in which all remnant candidates with hotspots are simply active radio galaxies with faint, undetected radio cores. Finally, we model the synchrotron spectrum arising from a hotspot to show they can persist for 5–10 Myr at 5.5 GHz after the jets switch of—radio emission arising from such hotspots can therefore be expected in an appreciable fraction of genuine remnants.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Astronomical Society of Australia

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