The ATESP 5 GHz radio survey
III. 4.8, 8.6 and 19 GHz follow-up observations of radio galaxies
INAF - Istituto di Radioastronomia, via Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy e-mail: email@example.com
2 Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, Canada
3 Dipartimento di Astronomia, Università di Bologna, via Ranzani 1, 40127 Bologna, Italy
4 Australia Telescope National Facility, CSIRO, PO Box 76, Epping NSW 1710, Australia
Accepted: 3 November 2009
Aims. Physical and evolutionary properties of the sub-mJy radio population are not entirely known. The radio/optical analysis of the ATESP 5 GHz sample has revealed a significant class of compact flat/inverted radio-spectrum sources associated to early-type galaxies up to redshift 2. Such sources are most plausibly triggered by an AGN, but their observational properties are not entirely consistent with those of standard radio galaxy populations. In the present work we aim at a better understanding of the radio spectra of such sources and ultimately of the nature of AGNs at sub-mJy flux levels. In particular we are interested in assessing whether the AGN component of the sub-mJy population is more related to efficiently accreting systems – like radio-intermediate/quiet quasars – or to systems with low accretion rates – like e.g. FRI radio galaxies – or to low radiative efficiency accretion flows – like e.g. ADAF.
Methods. We used the ATCA to get multi-frequency (4.8, 8.6 and 19 GHz) quasi-simultaneous observations for a representative sub-sample of ATESP radio sources associated with early-type galaxies (26 objects with S>0.6 mJy). This can give us insight into the accretion/radiative mechanism that is at work, since different regimes display different spectral signatures in the radio domain.
Results. From the analysis of the radio spectra, we find that our sources are most probably jet-dominated systems. ADAF models are ruled out by the high frequency data, while ADAF+jet scenarios are still consistent with flat/moderately inverted-spectrum sources, but are not required to explain the data. We compared our sample with high ( GHz) frequency selected surveys, finding spectral properties very similar to the ones of much brighter (S>500 mJy) radio galaxies extracted from the Massardi et al. (2008) sample. Linear sizes of ATESP 5 GHz sources associated with early type galaxies are also often consistent with the ones of brighter B2 and 3C radio galaxies, with possibly a very compact component that could be associated at least in part to (obscured) radio-quiet quasar-like objects and/or low power BL Lacs.
Key words: surveys / radio continuum: general / methods: data analysis / catalogs / galaxies: general / galaxies: evolution
© ESO, 2010