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Optically Faint Radio Sources: Reborn AGN?

Mercedes E. Filho

We have discovered a number of relatively strong radio sources in the field-of-view of SDSS galaxy clusters which present no optical counterparts down to the magnitude limits of the SDSS. The optically faint radio sources appear as double-lobed or core-jet objects on the FIRST radio images and have projected angular sizes ranging from 0.5 to 1.0 arcmin. We have followed-up these sources with near-infrared imaging using the wide-field imager HAWK-I on the VLT. Ks-band emitting regions, about 1.5 arcsec in size and coincident with the centers of the radio structures, were detected in all the sources, with magnitudes in the range 17--20~mag. We have used spectral modelling to characterize the sample sources. In general, the radio properties are similar to those observed in 3CRR sources but the optical-radio slopes are consistent with moderate to high redshift (z<4) gigahertz-peaked spectrum sources. Our results suggest that these unusual objects are galaxies whose black hole has been recently re-ignited but retain large-scale radio structures, signatures of previous AGN activity.

2011 October 12, 13:30

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