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The Infrared Medium-Deep Survey. II. How to trigger radio AGNs? Hints from their environments.

Karouzos, M. and Im, M. and Kim, J.-W. and Lee, S.-K. and Chapman, S. and Jeon, Y. and Choi, C. and Hong, J. and Hyun, M. and Jun, H.D. and Kim, D. and Kim, Y. and Kim, J.H. and Kim, D. and Pak, S. and Park, W.-K. and Taak, Y.C. and Yoon, Y. and Edge, A.C. (2014) 'The Infrared Medium-Deep Survey. II. How to trigger radio AGNs? Hints from their environments.', Astrophysical journal., 797 (1). p. 26.


Activity at the centers of galaxies, during which the central supermassive black hole is accreting material, is nowadays accepted to be rather ubiquitous and most probably a phase of every galaxy's evolution. It has been suggested that galactic mergers and interactions may be the culprits behind the triggering of nuclear activity. We use near-infrared data from the new Infrared Medium-Deep Survey and the Deep eXtragalactic Survey of the VIMOS-SA22 field and radio data at 1.4 GHz from the FIRST survey and a deep Very Large Array survey to study the environments of radio active galactic nuclei (AGNs) over an area of ~25 deg2 and down to a radio flux limit of 0.1 mJy and a J-band magnitude of 23 mag AB. Radio AGNs are predominantly found in environments similar to those of control galaxies at similar redshift, J-band magnitude, and (Mu – Mr ) rest-frame color. However, a subpopulation of radio AGNs is found in environments up to 100 times denser than their control sources. We thus preclude merging as the dominant triggering mechanism of radio AGNs. By fitting the broadband spectral energy distribution of radio AGNs in the least and most dense environments, we find that those in the least dense environments show higher radio-loudness, higher star formation efficiencies, and higher accretion rates, typical of the so-called high-excitation radio AGNs. These differences tend to disappear at z > 1. We interpret our results in terms of a different triggering mechanism for these sources that is driven by mass loss through winds of young stars created during the observed ongoing star formation.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Galaxies: active, Galaxies: jets, Galaxies: star formation, Galaxies: statistics, Galaxy: evolution, Infrared: galaxies, Radio continuum: galaxies.
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Publisher statement:© 2014. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Date accepted:10 October 2014
Date deposited:01 July 2015
Date of first online publication:December 2014
Date first made open access:No date available

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