Volume 527, March 2011
|Number of page(s)||14|
|Section||Catalogs and data|
|Published online||04 February 2011|
Diffuse steep-spectrum sources from the 74 MHz VLSS survey
Leiden Observatory, Leiden University,
PO Box 9513,
2 Jacobs University Bremen, PO Box 750561, 28725 Bremen, Germany
Received: 25 October 2010
Accepted: 8 December 2010
Context. Galaxy clusters grow by a sequence of mergers with other clusters and galaxy groups. During these mergers, shocks and/or turbulence are created within the intracluster medium (ICM). In this process, particles could be accelerated to highly relativistic energies. The synchrotron radiation from these particles is observed in the form of radio relics and halos that are generally characterized by a steep radio spectral index. Shocks can also revive fossil radio plasma from a previous episode of AGN activity, creating a so-called radio “phoenix”. Here we present multi-frequency radio observations of diffuse steep-spectrum radio sources selected from the 74 MHz VLSS survey. Previous Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) observations showed that some of these sources had filamentary and elongated morphologies, which are expected for radio relics.
Aims. We attempt to understand the nature of diffuse steep-spectrum radio sources and characterize their spectral index and polarization properties.
Methods. We carried out radio continuum observations at 325 MHz with the GMRT. Observations with the Very Large Array (VLA) and Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT) were taken at 1.4 GHz in full polarization mode. Optical images around the radio sources were taken with the William Herschel and Isaac Newton Telescope (WHT, INT).
Results. Most of the sources in our sample consist of old radio plasma from AGNs located in small galaxy clusters. The sources can be classified as AGN relics or radio phoenices. The spectral indices across most of the radio sources display large variations.
Conclusions. We conclude that diffuse steep-spectrum radio sources are not only found in massive X-ray luminous galaxy clusters but also in smaller systems. Future low-frequency surveys will uncover large numbers of steep-spectrum radio relics related to previous episodes of AGN activity.
Key words: radio continuum: galaxies / galaxies: active / galaxies: clusters: general / large-scale structure of Universe
© ESO, 2011
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