Volume 617, September 2018
|Number of page(s)||16|
|Section||Catalogs and data|
|Published online||02 October 2018|
Reliable detection and characterization of low-frequency polarized sources in the LOFAR M51 field⋆
Department of Space, Earth and Environment, Chalmers University of Technology, Onsala Space Observatory, 439 92 Onsala, Sweden
2 Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, Alan Turing Building, School of Physics and Astronomy, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
3 Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany
4 Astronomical Observatory, Jagiellonian University, ul. Orla 171, 30-244 Kraków, Poland
5 Department of Astrophysics/IMAPP, Radboud University, PO Box 9010, 6500 GL Nijmegen, The Netherlands
6 School of Mathematics and Statistics, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK
7 CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science, 26 Dick Perry Ave, Kensington, WA 6151, Australia
8 INAF – Osservatorio di Radioastronomia, Via P. Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy
9 Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen, Postbus 800, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands
Accepted: 12 June 2018
Context. The new generation of broad-band radio continuum surveys will provide large data sets with polarization information. New algorithms need to be developed to extract reliable catalogs of linearly polarized sources that can be used to characterize those sources and produce a dense rotation measure (RM) grid to probe magneto-ionized structures along the line of sight via Faraday rotation.
Aims. The aim of the paper is to develop a computationally efficient and rigorously defined source-finding algorithm for linearly polarized sources.
Methods. We used a calibrated data set from the LOw Frequency ARray (LOFAR) at 150 MHz centered on the nearby galaxy M 51 to search for polarized background sources. With a new imaging software, we re-imaged the field at a resolution of 18″ × 15″ and cataloged a total of about 3000 continuum sources within 2.5° of the center of M 51. We made small Stokes Q and U images centered on each source brighter than 100 mJy in total intensity (201 sources) and used RM synthesis to create corresponding Faraday cubes that were analyzed individually. For each source, the noise distribution function was determined from a subset of the measurements at high Faraday depths where no polarization is expected; the peaks in polarized intensity in the Faraday spectrum were identified and the p-value of each source was calculated. Finally, the false discovery rate method was applied to the list of p-values to produce a list of polarized sources and quantify the reliability of the detections. We also analyzed sources fainter than 100 mJy but that were reported as polarized in the literature at at least another radio frequency.
Results. Of the 201 sources that were searched for polarization, six polarized sources were detected confidently (with a false discovery rate of 5%). This corresponds to a number density of one polarized source per 3.3 square degrees, or 0.3 source per square degree. Increasing the false discovery rate to 50% yields 19 sources. A majority of the sources have a morphology that is indicative of them being double-lobed radio galaxies, and the ones with literature redshift measurements have 0.5 < z < 1.0.
Conclusions. We find that this method is effective in identifying polarized sources, and is well suited for LOFAR observations. In the future, we intend to develop it further and apply it to larger data sets such as the LOFAR Two-meter Survey of the whole northern sky, LOTSS, and the ongoing deep LOFAR observations of the GOODS-North field.
Key words: polarization / radio continuum: galaxies / galaxies: magnetic fields / galaxies: individual: M51 / methods: data analysis / techniques: polarimetric
The FITS file of the LOFAR 150 MHz image shown in Fig. 1, the catalog of 201 radio sources, and 19 Faraday cubes are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (188.8.131.52) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/vizbin/qcat?J/A+A/617/A136
© ESO 2018
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