AGN duty cycle estimates for the ultra-steep spectrum radio relic VLSS J1431.8+1331
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2015

Context. Steep spectrum radio sources associated with active galactic nuclei (AGN) may contain remnants of past AGN activity episodes. Studying these sources gives us insight into the AGN activity history. Novel instruments like the LOw Frequency ARray (LOFAR) are enabling studies of these fascinating structures to be made at tens to hundreds of MHz with sufficient resolution to analyse their complex morphology. Aims. Our goal is to characterize the integrated and resolved spectral properties of VESS J1431+1331 and estimate source ages based on synchrotron radio emission models, thus putting constraints on the AGN duty cycle. Methods. Using a broad spectral coverage, we have derived spectral and curvature maps, and used synchrotron ageing models to determine the time elapsed from the last time the source plasma was energized. We used LOFAR, Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) and Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) data. Results. We confirm the morphology and the spectral index values found in previous studies of this object. Based on our ageing analysis, we infer that the AGN that created this source currently has very low levels of activity or that it is switched off. The derived ages for the larger source component range from around 60 to 130 Myr, hinting that the AGN activity decreased or stopped around 60 Myr ago. We observe that the area around the faint radio core located in the larger source component is the youngest, while the overall age of the smaller source component shows it to be the oldest part of the source. Conclusions. Our analysis suggests that VLSS J1431.8+1331 is an intriguing, two-component source. The larger component seems to host a faint radio core, suggesting that the source may be an AGN radio relic. The spectral index we observe from the smaller component is distinctly flatter at lower frequencies than the spectral index of the larger component, suggesting the possibility that the smaller component may be a shocked plasma bubble. From. the integrated source spectrum, we deduce that its shape and slope can be used as tracers of the activity history of this type of steep spectrum radio source. We discuss the implications this conclusion has for future studies of radio sources having similar characteristics.

galaxies

radio continuum

VLSS J1431.8+1331

Författare

A. Shulevski

Netherlands Foundation for Research in Astronomy

University of Groningen, Kapteyn Astronomical Institute

R. Morganti

University of Groningen, Kapteyn Astronomical Institute

Netherlands Foundation for Research in Astronomy

P. D. Barthel

University of Groningen, Kapteyn Astronomical Institute

J. J. Harwood

Netherlands Foundation for Research in Astronomy

G. Brunetti

INAF Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica, Bologna

R. J. van Weeren

Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

H. Rottgering

Leiden Observatory Research Institute

G. J. White

Open University

Rutherford Appleton Laboratory

Cathy Horellou

Chalmers, Rymd- och geovetenskap, Radioastronomi och astrofysik

M. Kunert-Bajraszewska

Uniwersytet Mikołaja Kopernika w Toruniu

M. Jamrozy

Uniwersytet Jagiellonski w Krakowie

K.T. Chyz̊y

Uniwersytet Jagiellonski w Krakowie

E. Mahony

Netherlands Foundation for Research in Astronomy

G. Miley

Leiden Observatory Research Institute

M. Brienza

Netherlands Foundation for Research in Astronomy

University of Groningen, Kapteyn Astronomical Institute

L. Birzan

Universitat Hamburg

D. Rafferty

Universitat Hamburg

M. Brüggen

Universitat Hamburg

M. W. Wise

Netherlands Foundation for Research in Astronomy

Astronomical Institute Anton Pannekoek

John Conway

Chalmers, Rymd- och geovetenskap, Onsala rymdobservatorium

F. De Gasperin

Universitat Hamburg

N. Vilchez

Netherlands Foundation for Research in Astronomy

Astronomy and Astrophysics

0004-6361 (ISSN) 1432-0746 (eISSN)

Vol. 583 A89- A89

Ämneskategorier

Astronomi, astrofysik och kosmologi

DOI

10.1051/0004-6361/201525632