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MIGHTEE: Are giant radio galaxies more common than we thought?

Delhaize, J and Heywood, I and Prescott, M and Jarvis, M J and Delvecchio, I and Whittam, I H and White, S V and Hardcastle, M J and Hale, C L and Afonso, J and Ao, Y and Brienza, M and Brüggen, M and Collier, J D and Daddi, E and Glowacki, M and Maddox, N and Morabito, L K and Prandoni, I and Randriamanakoto, Z and Sekhar, S and An, Fangxia and Adams, N J and Blyth, S and Bowler, R A A and Leeuw, L and Marchetti, L and Randriamampandry, S M and Thorat, K and Seymour, N and Smirnov, O and Taylor, A R and Tasse, C and Vaccari, M (2021) 'MIGHTEE: Are giant radio galaxies more common than we thought?', Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 501 (3). pp. 3833-3845.


We report the discovery of two new giant radio galaxies (GRGs) using the MeerKAT International GHz Tiered Extragalactic Exploration (MIGHTEE) survey. Both GRGs were found within a ∼1 deg2 region inside the COSMOS field. They have redshifts of z = 0.1656 and z = 0.3363 and physical sizes of 2.4 Mpc and 2.0 Mpc, respectively. Only the cores of these GRGs were clearly visible in previous high resolution VLA observations, since the diffuse emission of the lobes was resolved out. However, the excellent sensitivity and uv coverage of the new MeerKAT telescope allowed this diffuse emission to be detected. The GRGs occupy an unpopulated region of radio power – size parameter space. Based on a recent estimate of the GRG number density, the probability of finding two or more GRGs with such large sizes at z < 0.4 in a ∼1 deg2 field is only 2.7 × 10−6, assuming Poisson statistics. This supports the hypothesis that the prevalence of GRGs has been significantly underestimated in the past due to limited sensitivity to low surface brightness emission. The two GRGs presented here may be the first of a new population to be revealed through surveys like MIGHTEE which provide exquisite sensitivity to diffuse, extended emission.

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Publisher statement:This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: 2020 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved
Date accepted:09 December 2020
Date deposited:13 January 2021
Date of first online publication:14 December 2020
Date first made open access:13 January 2021

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