EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 435, Number 2, May IV 2005
Page(s) 521 - 543
Section Extragalactic astronomy
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20042277
Published online 29 April 2005

A&A 435, 521-543 (2005)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20042277

Radio sources in low-luminosity active galactic nuclei

IV. Radio luminosity function, importance of jet power, and radio properties of the complete Palomar sample
N. M. Nagar1, 2, H. Falcke3 and A. S. Wilson4

1  Kapteyn Institute, Landleven 12, 9747 AD Groningen, The Netherlands
2  Astronomy Group, Departamento de Física, Universidad de Concepción, Casilla 160-C, Concepción, Chile
    e-mail: nagar@astro-udec.cl
3  ASTRON, PO Box 2, 7990 AA Dwingeloo, The Netherlands Department of Astronomy, Radboud University Nijmegen, Postbus 9010, 6500 GL Nijmegen, The Netherlands
    e-mail: falcke@astron.nl
4  Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA Adjunct Astronomer, Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
    e-mail: wilson@astro.umd.edu

(Received 29 October 2004 / Accepted 5 February 2005 )

We present the completed results of a high resolution radio imaging survey of all (~200) low-luminosity active galactic nuclei (LLAGNs) and AGNs in the Palomar Spectroscopic Sample of all (~488) bright northern galaxies. The high incidences of pc-scale radio nuclei, with implied brightness temperatures $\gtrsim$$10^7\,$K, and sub-parsec jets argue for accreting black holes in $\gtrsim$50% of all LINERs and low-luminosity Seyferts; there is no evidence against all LLAGNs being mini-AGNs. The detected parsec-scale radio nuclei are preferentially found in massive ellipticals and in type 1 nuclei (i.e. nuclei with broad H$\alpha$ emission). The radio luminosity function (RLF) of Palomar Sample LLAGNs and AGNs extends three orders of magnitude below, and is continuous with, that of "classical" AGNs. We find marginal evidence for a low-luminosity turnover in the RLF; nevertheless LLAGNs are responsible for a significant fraction of present day mass accretion. Adopting a model of a relativistic jet from Falcke & Biermann, we show that the accretion power output in LLAGNs is dominated by the kinetic power in the observed jets rather than the radiated bolometric luminosity. The Palomar LLAGNs and AGNs follow the same scaling between jet kinetic power and narrow line region (NLR) luminosity as the parsec to kilo-parsec jets in powerful radio galaxies. Eddington ratios ${l_{\rm Edd}}$ (= $L_{\rm Emitted}/L_{\rm Eddington}$) of $\le$10 -1-10-5 are implied in jet models of the radio emission. We find evidence that, in analogy to Galactic black hole candidates, LINERs are in a "low/hard" state (gas poor nuclei, low Eddington ratio, ability to launch collimated jets) while low-luminosity Seyferts are in a "high" state (gas rich nuclei, higher Eddington ratio, less likely to launch collimated jets). In addition to dominating the radiated bolometric luminosity of the nucleus, the radio jets are energetically more significant than supernovae in the host galaxies, and are potentially able to deposit sufficient energy into the innermost parsecs to significantly slow the gas supply to the accretion disk.

Key words: accretion, accretion disks -- galaxies: jets -- galaxies: nuclei -- radio continuum: galaxies -- surveys

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