Recent star formation in nearby 3CR radio-galaxies from UV HST observations*
Universitá di Torino, via P. Giuria 1, 10125 Torino, Italy e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Torino, Strada Osservatorio 20, 10025 Pino Torinese, Italy e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 13 June 2008
We analyzed HST images of 31 nearby (z ≲ 0.1) 3CR radio-galaxies. We compared their UV and optical images to detect evidence of recent star formation. Six objects were excluded because they are highly nucleated or had very low UV count rates. After subtracting the emission from their nuclei and/or jets, 12 of the remaining 25 objects, presenting an UV/optical colors , are potential star-forming candidates. Considering the contamination from other AGN-related processes (UV emission lines, nebular continuum, and scattered nuclear light), there are 6 remaining star-forming “blue” galaxies. We then divide the radio galaxies, on the basis of the radio morphology, radio power, and diagnostic optical line ratios, into low and high excitation galaxies, LEG and HEG. While there is no correlation between the FR type (or radio power) and color, the FR type is clearly related to the spectroscopic type. In fact, all HEG (with one possible exception) show morphological evidence of recent star formation in UV compact knots, extended over 5–20 kpc. Conversely, there is only 1 “blue” LEG out of 19, including in this class also FR I galaxies. The picture that emerges, considering color, UV, optical, and dust morphology, is that only in HEG recent star formation is associated with these relatively powerful AGN, which are most likely triggered by a recent, major, wet merger. Conversely, in LEG galaxies the fraction of actively star-forming objects is not enhanced with respect to quiescent galaxies. The AGN activity in these sources can be probably self-sustained by their hot interstellar medium.
Key words: galaxies: active / galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD / galaxies: evolution / galaxies: interactions / galaxies: starburst / ultraviolet: galaxies
© ESO, 2008