C. N. Tadhunter

The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (278)819.02 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We use deep Herschel Space Observatory observations of a 90% complete sample of 32 intermediate-redshift 2Jy radio galaxies (0.05 < z < 0.7) to estimate the dust masses of their host galaxies and thereby investigate the triggering mechanisms for their quasar-like AGN. The dust masses derived for the radio galaxies (7.2x10^5 < M_d < 2.6x10^8 M_sun) are intermediate between those of quiescent elliptical galaxies on the one hand, and ultra luminous infrared galaxies (ULIRGs) on the other. Consistent with simple models for the co-evolution of supermassive black holes and their host galaxies, these results suggest that most of the radio galaxies represent the late time re-triggering of AGN activity via mergers between the host giant elliptical galaxies and companion galaxies with relatively low gas masses. However, a minority of the radio galaxies in our sample (~20%) have high, ULIRG-like dust masses, along with evidence for prodigious star formation activity. The latter objects are more likely to have been triggered in major, gas-rich mergers that represent a rapid growth phase for both their host galaxies and their supermassive black holes.
    08/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We present new HST ACS medium- and narrow-band images and long-slit, optical (4000 - 7200A) spectra obtained using the Isaac Newton Telescope (INT) on La Palma, of the merging system Mrk273. The HST observations sample the [OIII]4959,5007 emission from the galaxy and the nearby continuum. The images show that the morphologies of the extended continuum and the ionised gas emission from the galaxy are decoupled, extending almost perpendicular to each other. In particular, we detect for the first time a spectacular structure of ionised gas in the form of filaments extending ~23 kpc to the east of the nuclear region. The quiescent ionised gas kinematics at these locations suggests that these filaments are tidal debris left over from a secondary merger event that are illuminated by an AGN in the nuclear regions. The images also reveal a complex morphology in the nuclear region of the galaxy for both the continuum and the [OIII] emission. Kinematic disturbance, in the form of broad (FWHM > 500 km s-1) and/or strongly shifted (abs(\DeltaV) >150 km s-1) emission line components, is found at almost all locations within a radius of ~4 kpc to the east and west of the northern nucleus. We fit the profiles of all the emission lines of different ionisation with a kinematic model using up to 3 Gaussian components. From these fits we derive diagnostic line ratios that are used to investigate the ionisation mechanisms at the different locations in the galaxy. We show that, in general, the line ratios are consistent with photoionization by an AGN as the main ionisation mechanism. Finally, the highest surface brightness [OIII] emission is found in a compact region that is coincident with the so-called SE nuclear component. The compactness, kinematics and emission line ratios of this component suggest that it is a separate nucleus with its own AGN.
    07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We present high-angular (~0.4") resolution mid-infrared (MIR) polarimetric observations in the 8.7 ${\mu}$m and 11.6 ${\mu}$m filters of Cygnus A using CanariCam on the 10.4-m Gran Telescopio CANARIAS. A highly polarized nucleus is observed with a degree of polarization of 11${\pm}$3% and 12${\pm}$3% and position angle of polarization of 27${\pm}$8 degrees and 35${\pm}$8 degrees in a 0.38" (~380 pc) aperture for each filter. The observed rising of the polarized flux density with increasing wavelength is consistent with synchrotron radiation from the pc-scale jet close to the core of Cygnus A. Based on our polarization model, the synchrotron emission from the pc-scale jet is estimated to be 14% and 17% of the total flux density in the 8.7 ${\mu}$m and 11.6 ${\mu}$m filters, respectively. A blackbody component with a characteristic temperature of 220 K accounts for >75% of the observed MIR total flux density. The blackbody emission arises from a combination of (1) dust emission in the torus; and (2) diffuse dust emission around the nuclear region, but the contributions of the two components cannot be well constrained in these observations.
    07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We present an analysis of 2.05 $\mu$m Hubble Space Telescope (HST) polarimetric data for a sample of 13 nearby Fanaroff-Riley type II (FRII) 3CR radio sources ($0.03<z<0.11$) that are classified as narrow line radio galaxies (NLRG) at optical wavelengths. We find that the compact cores of the NLRG in our sample are intrinsically highly polarised in the near-IR ($6 < P_{2.05\mu m} < 60$ per cent), with the electric-vector (E-vector) perpendicular to the radio axis in 54 per cent of the sources. The levels of extinction required to produce near-infrared polarisation by the dichroic extinction mechanism are consistent with the measured values reported in Ram\'irez et al. (2014), provided that this mechanism has its maximum efficiency. This consistency suggests that the nuclear polarisation could be due to dichroic extinction. In this case, toroidal magnetic fields that are highly coherent would be required in the circumnuclear tori to align the elongated dust grains responsible for the dichroic extinction. However, it is not entirely possible to rule out other polarisation mechanisms (e.g. scattering, synchrotron emission) with our observations at only one near-IR wavelength. Therefore further polarimetry observations at mid-IR and radio wavelengths will be required to test whether all the near-IR polarisation is due to dichroic extinction.
    07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Massive outflows driven by active galactic nuclei (AGN) are widely recognised to play a key role in the evolution of galaxies, heating the ambient gas, expelling it from the nuclear regions, and thereby affecting the star formation histories of the galaxy bulges. It has been proposed that the powerful jets of relativistic particles launched by some AGN can both accelerate and heat the molecular gas, which often dominates the mass budgets of the outflows. However, clear evidence for this mechanism in the form of detailed associations between the molecular gas kinematics and features in the radio-emitting jets has been lacking. Here we show that the warm molecular hydrogen gas in the western radio lobe of the Seyfert galaxy IC5063 is moving at high velocities - up to 600 km/s - relative to the galaxy disk. This suggests that the molecules have been accelerated by fast shocks driven into the interstellar medium (ISM) by the expanding radio jets. These results demonstrate the general feasibility of accelerating molecular outflows in fast shocks driven by AGN.
    Nature. 07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: It remains uncertain which continuum and emission line diagnostics best indicate the bolometric powers of active galactic nuclei (AGN), especially given the attenuation caused by the circum-nuclear material, and the possible contamination by components related to star formation. Here we use mid-IR spectra along with the multi-wavelength data to investigate the merit of various diagnostics of AGN radiative power, including the mid-IR [NeIII]25.89 micron and [OIV]25.89 micron fine structure lines, the optical [OIII]5007 forbidden line, and mid-IR 24 micron, 5GHz radio, and X-ray continuum emission, for complete samples of 46 2Jy radio galaxies (0.05<z<0.7) and 17 3CRR FRII radio galaxies (z<0.1). We find that the mid-IR [OIV] line is the most reliable indicator of AGN power for powerful radio-loud AGN. By assuming that the [OIV] is emitted isotropically, and comparing the [OIII] and 24 micron luminosities of the broad- and narrow-line AGN in our samples at fixed [OIV] luminosity, we show that the [OIII] and 24 micron emission are both mildly attenuated in the narrow-line compared to the broad-line objects by a factor 2. However, despite this attenuation, the [OIII] and 24 micron luminosities are better AGN power indicators for our sample than either the 5 GHz radio or the X-ray continuum luminosities. We also detect the mid-IR 9.7 micron silicate feature in the spectra of many objects but not ubiquitously: at least 40% of the sample show no clear evidence for these features. We conclude that, for the majority of powerful radio galaxies, the mid-IR lines are powered by AGN photoionisation.
    05/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: It remains uncertain which continuum and emission line diagnostics best indicate the bolometric powers of active galactic nuclei (AGN), especially given the attenuation caused by the circum-nuclear material, and the possible contamination by components related to star formation. Here we use mid-IR spectra along with the multi-wavelength data to investigate the merit of various diagnostics of AGN radiative power, including the mid-IR [NeIII]25.89 micron and [OIV]25.89 micron fine structure lines, the optical [OIII]5007 forbidden line, and mid-IR 24 micron, 5GHz radio, and X-ray continuum emission, for complete samples of 46 2Jy radio galaxies (0.05
    04/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We present an analysis of infrared Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and Spitzer data for a sample of 13 Fanaroff-Riley II (FRII) radio galaxies at 0.03 < z < 0.11 that are classified as narrow-line radio galaxies (NLRGs). In the context of unified schemes for active galactic nuclei (AGNs), our direct view of AGNs in NLRGs is impeded by a parsec-scale dusty torus structure. Our high-resolution infrared observations provide new information about the degree of extinction resulting from the torus, and about the incidence of obscured AGNs in NLRGs.We find that the point-like nucleus detection rate increases from 25 per cent at 1.025 μm, to 80 per cent at 2.05 μm, and to 100 per cent at 8.0 μm. This supports the idea that most NLRG host an obscured AGN in their centre. We estimate the extinction from the obscuring structures using X-ray, near-IR and mid-IR data. We find that the optical extinction derived from the 9.7 μm silicate absorption feature is consistently lower than the extinction derived using other techniques. This discrepancy challenges the assumption that all the mid-infrared emission of NLRG is extinguished by a simple screen of dust at larger radii. This disagreement can be explained in terms of either weakening of the silicate absorption feature by (i) thermal mid-IR emission from the narrow-line region, (ii) non-thermal emission from the base of the radio jets, or (iii) by direct warm dust emission that leaks through a clumpy torus without suffering major attenuation.
    03/2014; 439(2).
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    ABSTRACT: We carry out a systematic study of the X-ray emission from the active nuclei of the 0.02<z<0.7 2Jy sample, using Chandra and XMM-Newton observations. We combine our results with those from mid-IR, optical emission line and radio observations, and add them to those of the 3CRR sources. We show that the low-excitation objects in our samples \redit{show signs} of radiatively inefficient accretion. We study the effect of the jet-related emission on the various luminosities, confirming that it is the main source of soft X-ray emission for our sources. We also find strong correlations between the accretion-related luminosities, and identify several sources whose optical classification is incompatible with their accretion properties. We derive the bolometric and jet kinetic luminosities for the samples and find a difference in the total Eddington rate between the low and high-excitation populations, with the former peaking at ~1 per cent and the latter at ~20 per cent Eddington. Our results are consistent with a simple Eddington switch when the effects of environment on radio luminosity and black hole mass calculations are considered. The apparent independence of jet kinetic power and radiative luminosity in the high-excitation population in our plots supports a model in which jet production and radiatively efficient accretion are not strongly correlated in high-excitation objects, though they have a common underlying mechanism.
    02/2014; 440(1).
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    ABSTRACT: We present the analysis of infrared HST and Spitzer data for a sample of 13 FRII radio galaxies at $0.03<z<0.11$ that are classified as narrow-line radio galaxies (NLRG). In the context of the unified schemes for active galactic nuclei (AGN), our direct view of the AGN in NLRG is impeded by a parsec-scale dusty torus structure. Our high resolution infrared observations provide new information about the degree of extinction induced by the torus, and the incidence of obscured AGN in NLRG. We find that the point-like nucleus detection rate increases towards longer infrared wavelengths. This supports the idea that most NLRG host an obscured AGN in their centre. We estimate the extinction from the obscuring structures using X-ray, near-IR and mid-IR data. We find that the optical extinction derived by the 9.7$\mu$m silicate absorption feature is consistently lower than the extinction derived using other techniques. This discrepancy challenges the assumption that all the mid-infrared emission of NLRG is extinguished by a simple screen of dust at larger radii. This disagreement can be explained in terms of either wakening of the silicate absorption feature by (a) thermal mid-IR emission from the narrow-line region, (b) non-thermal emission from the base of the radio jets, or (c) by direct warm dust emission that leaks through a clumpy torus without suffering major attenuation.
    01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The idea that the central regions of Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) are obscured by a circum-nuclear torus of dusty molecular gas is a keystone of the AGN Unified Scheme. However, the size and structure of the torus are not well constrained by observations. Here, we present early results from an international campaign to determine the size of the torus in a sample of 12 Seyfert galaxies using reverberation mapping techniques, focussing on the Seyfert 1 galaxy NGC 6418. We have used the Spitzer Space Telescope to acquire mid infrared (3.6 and 4.5 micron) observations for over a year with a high cadence of 3 days. Optical V band observations were obtained concurrently using several ground based telescopes. Cross-correlation of the 3.6 micron and optical (V-band) light curves, indicates that the size for the region 3.6 micron-emitting region to be 30.7 +/- 2.2 light days. We also find a lag of 11.5 +/- 0.9 days between the 3.6 micron and 4.5 micron channels. We discuss the implications of these results.
    01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We present a CO(1-0) survey for cold molecular gas in a representative sample of 13 high-z radio galaxies (HzRGs) at 1.4<z<2.8, using the Australia Telescope Compact Array. We detect CO(1-0) emission associated with five sources: MRC 0114-211, MRC 0152-209, MRC 0156-252, MRC 1138-262 and MRC 2048-272. The CO(1-0) luminosities are in the range $L'_{\rm CO} \sim (5 - 9) \times 10^{10}$ K km/s pc$^{2}$. For MRC 0152-209 and MRC 1138-262 part of the CO(1-0) emission coincides with the radio galaxy, while part is spread on scales of tens of kpc and likely associated with galaxy mergers. The molecular gas mass derived for these two systems is M$_{\rm H2} \sim 6 \times 10^{10}\, {\rm M}_{\odot}$ (M$_{\rm H2}$/$L'_{\rm CO}$=0.8). For the remaining three CO-detected sources, the CO(1-0) emission is located in the halo (~50-kpc) environment. These three HzRGs are among the fainter far-IR emitters in our sample, suggesting that similar reservoirs of cold molecular halo gas may have been missed in earlier studies due to pre-selection of IR-bright sources. In all three cases the CO(1-0) is aligned along the radio axis and found beyond the brightest radio hot-spot, in a region devoid of 4.5$\mu$m emission in Spitzer imaging. The CO(1-0) profiles are broad, with velocity widths of ~ 1000 - 3600 km/s. We discuss several possible scenarios to explain these halo reservoirs of CO(1-0). Following these results, we complement our CO(1-0) study with detections of extended CO from the literature and find at marginal statistical significance (95% level) that CO in HzRGs is preferentially aligned towards the radio jet axis. For the eight sources in which we do not detect CO(1-0), we set realistic upper limits of $L'_{\rm CO} \sim 3-4 \times 10^{10}$ K km/s pc$^{2}$. Our survey reveals a CO(1-0) detection rate of 38%, allowing us to compare the CO(1-0) content of HzRGs with that of other types of high-z galaxies.
    12/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: We present deep, intermediate resolution, long slit Gemini GMOS-S optical spectra of the SDSS type II quasar J002531-104022, which is a highly disturbed system currently undergoing a major merger event. We use these data to model the ages and reddenings of the stellar populations in three distinct spatial regions and find a remarkable uniformity in the properties of the young stellar populations (YSP) that dominate the optical spectra. The YSPs are all found to have relatively young ages (tysp < 40$ Myr), strongly implying that the latest episode of star formation and quasar activity have been triggered quasi-simultaneously. The lack of reddening deduced from both continuum modelling and the measured Balmer decrements (E(B-V) <0.3) suggests that starburst and/or AGN induced outflows have already effectively removed a substantial proportion of the gas and dust from the central region. These findings starkly contrast with model predictions which suggest an offset of a few 100 Myr between the peak of merger induced star formation and the emergence of the optically visible quasar activity. Based on our stellar population fits we also show that the total stellar mass is in the range (4 - 17) X 10^10 solar masses, lower than typically found for quasar host galaxies.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 11/2013; · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present the results of a comparison between the environments of 1) a complete sample of 46 southern 2Jy radio galaxies at intermediate redshifts (0.05 < z < 0.7), 2) a complete sample of 20 radio-quiet type-2 quasars (0.3 < z < 0.41), and 3) a control sample of 107 quiescent early-type galaxies at 0.2 < z < 0.7 in the Extended Groth Strip (EGS). The environments have been quantified using angular clustering amplitudes (Bgq) derived from deep optical imaging data. Based on these comparisons, we discuss the role of the environment in the triggering of powerful radio-loud and radio-quiet quasars. When we compare the Bgq distributions of the type-2 quasars and quiescent early-type galaxies, we find no significant difference between them. This is consistent with the radio-quiet quasar phase being a short-lived but ubiquitous stage in the formation of all massive early-type galaxies. On the other hand, PRGs are in denser environments than the quiescent population, and this difference between distributions of Bgq is significant at the 3 sigma level. This result supports a physical origin of radio loudness, with high density gas environments favouring the transformation of AGN power into radio luminosity, or alternatively, affecting the properties of the supermassive black holes themselves. Finally, focussing on the radio-loud sources only, we find that the clustering of weak-line radio galaxies (WLRGs) is higher than the strong-line radio galaxies (SLRGs), constituting a 3 sigma result. 82% of the 2Jy WLRGs are in clusters, according to our definition (Bgq > 400) versus only 31% of the SLRGs.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 08/2013; 436(2). · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The nearby radio galaxy 3C293 is one of a small group of objects where extreme outflows of neutral hydrogen have been detected. However, due to the limited spatial resolution of previous observations, the exact location of the outflow was not able to be determined. In this letter, we present new higher resolution VLA observations of the central regions of this radio source and detect a fast outflow of HI with a FWZI velocity of \Delta v~1200 km/s associated with the inner radio jet, approximately 0.5 kpc west of the central core. We investigate possible mechanisms which could produce the observed HI outflow and conclude that it is driven by the radio-jet. However, this outflow of neutral hydrogen is located on the opposite side of the nucleus to the outflow of ionised gas previously detected in this object. We calculate a mass outflow rate in the range of 8-50 solar masses/yr corresponding to a kinetic energy power injected back into the ISM of 1.38x10^{42} - 1.00x10^{43} erg/s or 0.01 - 0.08 percent of the Eddington luminosity. This places it just outside the range required by some galaxy evolution simulations for negative feedback from the AGN to be effective in halting star-formation within the galaxy.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 07/2013; 435(1). · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present optical spectra for a representative sample of 27 nearby (z < 0.2) Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS)-selected active galactic nuclei (AGN) with red near-infrared colours (J - KS ≳ 2.0). The spectra were taken with the ISIS spectrograph on the William Herschel Telescope with the aim of determining the nature of the red 2MASS AGN, in particular whether they are young quasars obscured by their natal cocoons of gas and dust. We compare our findings with those obtained for comparison samples of PG quasars and unobscured type 1 AGN. The spectra show a remarkable variety, including moderately reddened type 1 objects (45 per cent), type 1 objects that appear similar to traditional ultraviolet (UV)-/optical-selected AGN (11 per cent), narrow-line type 1 Seyfert AGN (15 per cent), type 2 AGN (22 per cent) and H II/composite objects (7 per cent). The high Balmer decrements that we measure in many of the type 1 objects are consistent with their red J - KS colours being due to moderate levels of dust extinction (0.2 < E(B - V) < 1.2). However, we measure only modest velocity shifts and widths for the broader [O III]λ5007 emission-line components that are similar to those measured in the comparison samples. This suggests that the outflows in the red 2MASS objects are not unusual compared with those of optical-/UV-selected AGN of similar luminosity. In addition, the Eddington ratios for the 2MASS sample are relatively modest. Overall, based on their optical spectra, we find no clear evidence that the population of red, 2MASS-selected AGN at low redshifts represents young quasars. Most plausibly, these objects are normal type 1 AGN that are moderately obscured by material in the outer layers of the circumnuclear tori or in the discs of the host galaxies.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 07/2013; 432(3):2150-2176. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    J. Rodriguez Zaurin, C. N. Tadhunter, M. Rose, J. Holt
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    ABSTRACT: We present an optical spectroscopic study of a 90% complete sample of 17 nearby ULIRGs with optical Seyfert nuclei, with the aim of investigating the nature of the nuclear warm gas outflows. A high proportion (94%) of our sample show disturbed emission line kinematics in the form of broad (FWHM > 500 km s-1) and/or strongly blueshifted (\Delta V < -150 km s-1) emission line components. This proportion is significantly higher than found in a comparison sample of non-Sy ULIRGs (19%). We also find evidence that the [OII]5007,4959 emission lines in Sy-ULIRGs are broader and more asymmetric that in samples of non-ULIRG Seyferts. The Sy-ULIRG sample encompasses a wide diversity of emission line profiles. In most individual objects we are able to fit the profiles of all the emission lines with a kinematic model derived from the strong [OIII]4959,5007 lines, using between 2 and 5 Gaussian components. From these fits we derive diagnostic line ratios that are used to investigate the ionization mechanisms for the different kinematic components. We show that, in general, the line ratios are consistent with gas of super-solar abundance photoionized by a combination of AGN and starburst activity, with an increasing contribution from the AGN with increasing FWHM of the individual kinematic components, and the AGN contribution dominating for the broadest components. However, shock ionization cannot be ruled out in some cases. Our derived upper limits on the mass outflows rates and kinetic powers of the emission line outflows show that they can be as energetically significant as the neutral and molecular outflows in ULIRGs-consistent with the requirements of the hydrodynamic simulations that include AGN feedback. However, the uncertainties are large, and more accurate estimates of the radii, densities and reddening of the outflows are required to put these results on a firmer footing.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 03/2013; 432(1). · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report the discovery with the Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment (APEX) of an outflow of molecular gas in the radio-loud Seyfert galaxy IC5063 (z = 0.0110). In addition to the emission of the large-scale CO disk, a prominent blueshifted wing is observed in the CO(2-1) spectrum. IC5063 represents one of the best cases of a fast jet-driven HI (and ionized gas) outflow, which is located at the site of a radio-bright feature about 0.5 kpc from the nucleus. It is possible that the blueshifted part of the molecular gas is associated with this outflow and is accelerated by the interaction with the radio jet. The outflow of molecular gas is characterized by an H$_2$ mass of the outflowing component of between 2.25 +/- 0.70 x 10^7 M_sun and 1.29 +/- 0.40 x 10^8 M_sun and a mass outflow rate between 22 and 129 M_sun/yr depending on the assumption for alpha_X and assuming a luminosity ratio L'_CO(2-1)/L'_CO(1-0) = 1. This confirms that this may indeed be the dominant component in outflows driven by the nuclear activity that are also found in other objects. However, this high mass outflow rate cannot easily be supported for a long time, suggesting that the gas outflow in IC5063 happens in bursts and is in a particularly strong phase at present. Owing to its proximity, IC5063 serves as an excellent laboratory for understanding the impact of radio jets on the gas-rich inter-stellar medium.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 02/2013; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The high-redshift radio galaxy MRC 1138-262 (`Spiderweb Galaxy'; z = 2.16), is one of the most massive systems in the early Universe and surrounded by a dense `web' of proto-cluster galaxies. Using the Australia Telescope Compact Array, we detected CO(1-0) emission from cold molecular gas -- the raw ingredient for star formation -- across the Spiderweb Galaxy. We infer a molecular gas mass of M(H2) = 6x10^10 M(sun) (for M(H2)/L'(CO)=0.8). While the bulk of the molecular gas coincides with the central radio galaxy, there are indications that a substantial fraction of this gas is associated with satellite galaxies or spread across the inter-galactic medium on scales of tens of kpc. In addition, we tentatively detect CO(1-0) in the star-forming proto-cluster galaxy HAE 229, 250 kpc to the west. Our observations are consistent with the fact that the Spiderweb Galaxy is building up its stellar mass through a massive burst of widespread star formation. At maximum star formation efficiency, the molecular gas will be able to sustain the current star formation rate (SFR ~ 1400 M(sun)/yr, as traced by Seymour et al.) for about 40 Myr. This is similar to the estimated typical lifetime of a major starburst event in infra-red luminous merger systems.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 01/2013; 430(4). · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present optical, infrared (IR) and radio observations of the powerful Fanaroff-Riley type II (FR II) radio source PKS 0347+05 (z = 0.3390), and demonstrate that it is a rare example of a radio-loud/radio-quiet double active galactic nucleus (AGN) system, comprising a weak-line radio galaxy (WLRG) separated by 25 kpc (in projection) from a Seyfert 1 nucleus at the same redshift. Our deep Gemini optical images show a highly disturbed morphology, with a warped dust lane crossing through the halo and nuclear regions of the radio galaxy host, tidal tails and a bridge connecting the radio galaxy to the Seyfert 1 nucleus. Spectral synthesis modelling of our Gemini optical spectrum of the radio galaxy shows evidence for a reddened young stellar population of age ≤100 Myr. Further evidence for recent star formation activity in this source is provided by the detection of strong polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon features in mid-IR Spitzer/IRS spectra. Together, these observations support a model in which both AGN have been triggered simultaneously in a major galaxy merger. However, despite the presence of a powerful FR II radio source, and the apparently plentiful supply of fuel provided by the merger, the nucleus of the radio galaxy shows only weak, low-ionization emission-line activity. We speculate that the fuel supply to nuclear regions of the radio galaxy has recently switched off (within the last ˜106 yr), but the information about the resulting decrease in nuclear AGN activity has yet to reach the extended lobes and hotspots of the FR II radio source. Based on this scenario, we derive a lower limit on the typical lifetimes of powerful, intermediate-redshift FR II radio sources of τ FR II ≳5×106 yr. Overall, our observations emphasize that the fuelling of AGN activity in major galaxy mergers is likely to be highly intermittent.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 12/2012; 427(2):1603-1613. · 5.52 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

3k Citations
819.02 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1996–2014
    • The University of Sheffield
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Sheffield, England, United Kingdom
  • 2010
    • Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy
      Dwingelo, Drenthe, Netherlands
  • 2009
    • University of Groningen
      • Kapteyn Astronomical Institute
      Groningen, Province of Groningen, Netherlands
    • University of Tasmania
      Hobart Town, Tasmania, Australia
  • 1992–1993
    • Durham University
      • Department of Physics
      Durham, England, United Kingdom
  • 1991
    • The Royal Observatory, Edinburgh
      Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • 1988
    • European Southern Observatory
      Arching, Bavaria, Germany