FIRST-based survey of compact steep spectrum sources
IV. Multifrequency VLBA observations of very compact objects
Toruń Centre for Astronomy, N. Copernicus University, 87-100 Toruń, Poland e-mail: email@example.com
2 Jodrell Bank Observatory, University of Manchester, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK11 9DL, UK
Accepted: 7 January 2006
Context.Evidence has been mounting recently that activity in some radio-loud AGNs (RLAGNs) can cease shortly after ignition and that perhaps even a majority of very compact sources may be short-lived phenomena because of a lack of stable fuelling from the black hole. Thus, they can fade out before having evolved to large, extended objects. Re-ignition of the activity in such objects is not ruled out.
Aims.With the aim of finding more examples of these objects and to investigate if they could be RLAGNs switched off at very early stages of their evolution, multifrequency VLBA observations of six sources with angular sizes significantly less than an arcsecond, yet having steep spectra, have been made.
Methods.Observations were initially made at 1.65 GHz using the VLBA with the inclusion of Effelsberg telescope. The sources were then re-observed with the VLBA at 5, 8.4 and 15.4 GHz. All the observations were carried out in a snapshot mode with phase referencing.
Results.One of the sources studied, 0809+404, is dominated by a compact component but also has diffuse, arcsecond-scale emission visible in VLA images. The VLBI observations of the “core” structure have revealed that this is also diffuse and fading away at higher frequencies. Thus, the inner component of 0809+404 could be a compact fading object. The remaining five sources presented here show either core-jet or edge-brightened double-lobed structures indicating that they are in an active phase.
Conclusions.The above result is an indication that the activity of the host galaxy of 0809+404 may be intermittent. Previous observations obtained from the literature and those presented here indicate that activity had ceased once in the past, then restarted, and has recently switched off again.
© ESO, 2006