Dust emission from 3C radio galaxies and quasars: New ISO observations favour the unified scheme *
Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie (MPIA), Königstuhl 17, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
2 Astronomisches Institut, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, 44780 Bochum, Germany
Corresponding author: K. Meisenheimer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 19 January 2001
In order to test the unified scheme for luminous radio galaxies and quasars we observed 10 galaxy/quasar pairs from the 3CR catalogue with ISOPHOT at infrared wavelengths between 5 and 180 μm. Each pair was selected such that both the 178 MHz luminosity and the redshift match as close as possible between the radio galaxy and the quasar in order to minimize effects of cosmic evolution. 13 of the 20 sources were detected in at least one waveband. 12 sources show clear evidence of a thermal bump at FIR wavelength, while in the remaining 7 sources the upper limits are still compatible with the presence of luminous dust emission. In agreement with the predictions of the unified scheme, the quasars and galaxies in our sample cannot be distinguished by their observed mid- and far-infrared properties. This is in contrast to the findings on the basis of the IRAS scans which indicated that radio galaxies radiate significantly less mid- to far-infrared emission than quasars. However, the IRAS samples are dominated by low-redshift sources (), while our sample contains several of the most luminous radio galaxies at redshift . The latter have already been suspected to contain a hidden quasar for other reasons, e.g. an extended emission line region aligned with the radio axis. From the ratio between FIR luminosity emitted by dust and the radio power at 178 MHz, we conclude that the radio galaxy/quasar unification might be perfectly valid for the most luminous 3C sources at high redshift (). At lower redshifts (), however, some of the lobe-dominated FRII radio galaxies contain active nuclei which emit less UV-optical continuum than the quasars of similar radio power. As this division is mainly a function of redshift and less one of absolute radio power, we suggest that it is caused by the evolution of the nuclear fueling rate with cosmic epoch. In order to quantify the deviation from the purely aspect-dependent unified scheme at low redshifts a larger fraction of 3C radio galaxies has to be observed at mid- to far-infrared wavelengths with sensitivities which suffice to yield secure detections rather than upper limits.
Key words: galaxies: fundamental parameters / nuclei / photometry / quasars: general / infrared: galaxies
© ESO, 2001