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A submillimetre survey of the star formation history of radio galaxies

Archibald, E. N., Dunlop, J. S., Hughes, D. H., Rawlings, S., Eales, Stephen Anthony and Ivison, R. J. 2001. A submillimetre survey of the star formation history of radio galaxies. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 323 (2) , pp. 417-444. 10.1046/j.1365-8711.2001.04188.x

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We present the results of the first major systematic submillimetre survey of radio galaxies spanning the redshift range 1<z<5. The primary aim of this work is to elucidate the star formation history of this sub class of elliptical galaxies by tracing the cosmological evolution of dust mass. Using SCUBA on the JCMT, we have obtained 850-μm photometry of 47 radio galaxies to a consistent rms depth of 1 mJy, and have detected dust emission in 14 cases. The radio galaxy targets have been selected from a series of low-frequency radio surveys of increasing depth (3CRR, 6CE, etc.), in order to allow us to separate the effects of increasing redshift and increasing radio power on submillimetre luminosity. Although the dynamic range of our study is inevitably small, we find clear evidence that the typical submillimetre luminosity (and hence dust mass) of a powerful radio galaxy is a strongly increasing function of redshift; the detection rate rises from ≃15 per cent at z<2.5 to ≳75 per cent at z>2.5, and the average submillimetre luminosity rises at a rate ∝(1+z)3 out to z≃4. Moreover, our extensive sample allows us to argue that this behaviour is not driven by underlying correlations with other radio galaxy properties such as radio power, radio spectral index, or radio source size/age. Although radio selection may introduce other more subtle biases, the redshift distribution of our detected objects is in fact consistent with the most recent estimates of the redshift distribution of comparably bright submillimetre sources discovered in blank field surveys. The evolution of submillimetre luminosity found here for radio galaxies may thus be representative of massive ellipticals in general.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Uncontrolled Keywords: stars; formation; dust; extinction; galaxies; active; elliptical and lenticular; cD; submillimetre
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 0035-8711
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:59

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