Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 324, 1-17 (2001/June-2)
Extremely red galaxy counterparts to 7C radio sources.
WILLOTT C.J., RAWLINGS S. and BLUNDELL K.M.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present RIJHK imaging of seven radio galaxies from the 7C Redshift Survey (7CRS) which lack strong emission lines and we use these data to investigate their spectral energy distributions (SEDs) with models that constrain their redshifts. Six of these seven galaxies have extremely red colours (R-K>5.5) and we find that almost all of them lie in the redshift range 1<z<2. We also present near-infrared spectroscopy of these galaxies which demonstrate that their SEDs are not dominated by emission lines, although tentative lines, consistent with Hα at z=1.45 and z=1.61, are found in two objects. Although the red colours of the 7CRS galaxies can formally be explained by stellar populations that are either very old or young and heavily reddened, independent evidence favours the former hypothesis. At z∼1.5 at least 1/4 of powerful radio jets are triggered in massive (>L*) galaxies, which formed the bulk of their stars several Gyr earlier, that is at epochs corresponding to redshifts z≳5. If a similar fraction of all z∼1.5 radio galaxies are old, then extrapolation of the radio luminosity function shows that, depending on the radio source lifetimes, between 10 and 100 per cent of the near-IR selected extremely red object (ERO) population undergo a radio outburst at epochs corresponding to 1<z<2. An ERO found serendipitously in the field of one of the 7CRS radio sources appears to be a radio-quiet analogue of the 7CRS EROs with an emission line likely to be [Oii] at z=1.20. The implication is that some of the most massive elliptical galaxies formed the bulk of their stars at z≳5 and these objects probably undergo at least two periods of active galactic nucleus activity: one at high redshift during which the black hole forms and another one at an epoch corresponding to z∼1.5.
The Royal Astronomical Society
galaxies: active - galaxies: evolution - galaxies: formation