The host galaxy/AGN connection in nearby early-type galaxies
Sample selection and hosts brightness profiles
INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Torino, Strada Osservatorio 20, 10025 Pino Torinese, Italy e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Universitá di Torino, Via Giuria 1, 10125 Torino, Italy e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 27 April 2005
This is the first of a series of three papers exploring the connection between the multiwavelength properties of AGNs in nearby early-type galaxies and the characteristics of their hosts. We selected two samples, both with high resolution 5 GHz VLA observations available and providing measurements down to 1 mJy level, reaching radio-luminosities as low as 1019 W Hz-1. We focus on the 116 radio-detected galaxies as to boost the fraction of AGN with respect to a purely optically selected sample. Here we present the analysis of the optical brightness profiles based on archival HST images, available for 65 objects. We separate early-type galaxies on the basis of the slope of their nuclear brightness profiles, into core and power-law galaxies following the Nuker's scheme, rather than on the traditional morphological classification (i.e. into E and S0 galaxies). Our sample of AGN candidates is indistinguishable, when their brightness profiles are concerned, from galaxies of similar optical luminosity but hosting weaker (or no) radio-sources. We confirm previous findings that relatively bright radio-sources ( W Hz-1) are uniquely associated to core galaxies. However, below this threshold in radio-luminosity core and power-law galaxies coexist and they do not show any apparent difference in their radio-properties. Not surprisingly, since our sample is deliberately biased to favour the inclusion of active galaxies, we found a higher fraction of optically nucleated galaxies. Addressing the multiwavelength properties of these nuclei will be the aim of the two forthcoming papers.
Key words: galaxies: active / galaxies: bulges / galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD / galaxies: nuclei / galaxies: structure
© ESO, 2005