Search and modelling of remnant radio galaxies in the LOFAR Lockman Hole field
1 ASTRON, The Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, Postbus 2, 7990 AA Dwingeloo, The Netherlands
2 Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen, PO Box 800, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands
3 INAF–ORA Bologna, via P. Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy
4 Sydney Institute for Astronomy, School of Physics, Building A28, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
5 ARC Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO), The University of Sydney, NSW2006, Australia
6 Centre for Astrophysics Research, School of Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics, University of Hertfordshire, College Lane, Hatfield AL10 9AB, UK
7 INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Cagliari, Loc. Poggio dei Pini, Strada 54, 09012 Capoterra (CA), Italy
8 Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
Received: 4 April 2017
Accepted: 21 July 2017
Context. The phase of radio galaxy evolution after the jets have switched off, often referred to as the remnant phase, is poorly understood and very few sources in this phase are known.
Aims. In this work we present an extensive search for remnant radio galaxies in the Lockman Hole, a well-studied extragalactic field. We create mock catalogues of low-power radio galaxies based on Monte Carlo simulations to derive first-order predictions of the fraction of remnants in radio flux limited samples for comparison with our Lockman-Hole sample.
Methods. Our search for remnant radio galaxies is based on LOFAR observations at 150 MHz combined with public survey data at higher frequencies. To enhance the selection process, and obtain a more complete picture of the remnant population, we use spectral criteria such as ultra-steep spectral index and high spectral curvature, and morphologre biased toward tinuum: galaxie ical criteria such as low radio core prominence and relaxed shapes to identify candidate remnant radio galaxies. Mock catalogues of radio galaxies are created based on existing spectral and dynamical evolution models combined with observed source properties.
Results. We have identified 23 candidate remnant radio galaxies which cover a variety of morphologies and spectral characteristics. We suggest that these different properties are related to different stages of the remnant evolution. We find that ultra-steep spectrum remnants represent only a fraction of our remnant sample suggesting a very rapid luminosity evolution of the radio plasma. Results from mock catalogues demonstrate the importance of dynamical evolution in the remnant phase of low-power radio galaxies to obtain fractions of remnant sources consistent with our observations. Moreover, these results confirm that ultra-steep spectrum remnants represent only a small subset of the entire population (~50%) when frequencies higher than 1400 MHz are not included in the selection process, and that they are biased towards old ages.
Key words: surveys / galaxies: active / radio continuum: galaxies
© ESO, 2017