Radio galaxies in the 2SLAQ Luminous Red Galaxy Survey - I. The evolution of low-power radio galaxies to z~ 0.7

Sadler, Elaine M.; Cannon, Russell D.; Mauch, Tom; Hancock, Paul J.; Wake, David A.; Ross, Nic; Croom, Scott M.; Drinkwater, Michael J.; Edge, Alastair C.; Eisenstein, Daniel; Hopkins, Andrew M.; Johnston, Helen M.; Nichol, Robert; Pimbblet, Kevin A.; De Propris, Roberto; Roseboom, Isaac G.; Schneider, Donald P. and Shanks, Tom (2007). Radio galaxies in the 2SLAQ Luminous Red Galaxy Survey - I. The evolution of low-power radio galaxies to z~ 0.7. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 381(1) pp. 211–227.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2007.12231.x

Abstract

We have combined optical data from the 2dF-SDSS (Sloan Digital Sky Survey) LRG (Luminous Red Galaxy) and QSO (quasi-stellar object) (2SLAQ) redshift survey with radio measurements from the 1.4 GHz VLA (Very Large Array) FIRST (Faint Images of the Radio Sky at Twenty-cm) and NVSS (NRAO VLA Sky Survey) surveys to identify a volume-limited sample of 391 radio galaxies at redshift 0.4 < z < 0.7. By determining an accurate radio luminosity function for luminous early-type galaxies in this redshift range, we can investigate the cosmic evolution of the radio-galaxy population over a wide range in radio luminosity.

The low-power radio galaxies in our LRG sample (those with 1.4 GHz radio luminosities in the range 1024 to 1025 W Hz−1, corresponding to Fanaroff–Riley I (FR I) radio galaxies in the local Universe) undergo significant cosmic evolution over the redshift range 0 < z < 0.7, consistent with pure luminosity evolution of the form (1 +z)k, where k= 2.0 ± 0.3. Our results appear to rule out (at the 6–7σ level) models in which low-power radio galaxies undergo no cosmic evolution. The most powerful radio galaxies in our sample (with radio luminosities above 1026 W Hz−1) may undergo more rapid evolution over the same redshift range.

The evolution seen in the low-power radio-galaxy population implies that the total energy input into massive early-type galaxies from active galactic nucleus (AGN) heating increases with redshift, and was at least 50 per cent higher at z~ 0.55 (the median redshift of the 2SLAQ LRG sample) than in the local universe.

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