Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 307, 149-161 (1999/July-3)
Optical spectroscopy of faint gigahertz peaked-spectrum sources.
SNELLEN I.A.G., SCHILIZZI R.T., BREMER M.N., MILEY G.K., DE BRUYN A.G. and ROETTGERING H.J.A.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present spectroscopic observations of a sample of faint gigahertz peaked-spectrum (GPS) radio sources drawn from the Westerbork Northern Sky Survey (WENSS). Redshifts have been determined for 19 (40 per cent) of the objects. The optical spectra of the GPS sources identified with low-redshift galaxies show deep stellar absorption features. This confirms previous suggestions that their optical light is not significantly contaminated by active galactic nucleus-related emission, but is dominated by a population of old (>9Gyr) and metal-rich (>0.2 [Fe/H]) stars, justifying the use of these (probably) young radio sources as probes of galaxy evolution. The optical spectra of GPS sources identified with quasars are indistinguishable from those of flat-spectrum quasars, and clearly different from the spectra of compact steep-spectrum (CSS) quasars. The redshift distribution of the GPS quasars in our radio-faint sample is comparable to that of the bright samples presented in the literature, peaking at z∼2-3. It is unlikely that a significant population of low-redshift GPS quasars is missed as a result of selection effects in our sample. We therefore claim that there is a genuine difference between the redshift distributions of GPS galaxies and quasars, which, because it is present in both the radio-faint and bright samples, cannot be caused by a redshift-luminosity degeneracy. It is therefore unlikely that the GPS quasars and galaxies are unified by orientation, unless the quasar opening angle is a strong function of redshift. We suggest that the GPS quasars and galaxies are unrelated populations and just happen to have identical observed radio spectral properties, and hypothesize that GPS quasars are a subclass of flat-spectrum quasars.
1999, Royal Astronomical Society
techniques: spectroscopic - galaxies: distances and redshifts - galaxies: fundamental parameters - quasars: general
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