Volume 374, Number 3, August II 2001
|Page(s)||861 - 870|
|Section||Cosmology (including clusters of galaxies)|
|Published online||15 August 2001|
I. Sample definition, selection effects and first results
Astronomical Institute, Utrecht University, PO Box 80 000, 3508 TA Utrecht, The Netherlands
2 Sterrewacht Leiden, Leiden University, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
3 ASTRON, PO Box 2, 7990 AA Dwingeloo, The Netherlands
4 Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen, PO Box 800, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands
Corresponding author: A. P. Schoenmakers, Schoenmakers@astron.nl
Accepted: 23 May 2001
We have used the Westerbork Northern Sky Survey (WENSS) to define a sample of 47 low redshift () giant radio galaxies. This is the largest sample yet of such radio sources originating from a single survey. We present radio maps of the newly discovered giants and optical images and spectra of their host galaxies. We present some of their properties and discuss the selection effects. We investigate the distribution of the sources in the radio power - linear size P - D diagram, and how these parameters relate to the redshifts of the sources in our sample. We find a strong drop in the number of sources with a linear size above 2 Mpc. We argue that this is not a result of selection effects, but that it indicates either a strong luminosity evolution of radio sources of such a size, or that a large fraction of radio sources "switch off" before they are able to grow to a size of 2 Mpc.
Key words: galaxies: active / intergalactic medium / galaxies: jets / radio continuum: galaxies
© ESO, 2001
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