Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 519, A62-62 (2010/9-1)
Tracing the merger-driven evolution of active galaxies using the CJF sample.
KAROUZOS M., BRITZEN S., ECKART A., WITZEL A. and ZENSUS A.
Abstract (from CDS):
For the evolution of large-scale structures in the Universe, it is unclear whether active galaxies represent a phase that each galaxy undergoes, and whether and to which extent the evolution of black holes at their centers is important. Binary black hole (BBH) systems may play a key role in our understanding of the above questions. We investigate the Caltech-Jodrell Bank flat-spectrum (CJF) sample to identify evidence that supports the merger-driven evolution scheme of active galaxies, and search for tracer-systems of active galactic nucleus (AGN) evolution and possible BBH candidates. We discuss the strength of and uncertainty in the evidence and formulate a set of selection criteria to detect such tracer-systems. We conduct an extensive literature search for all available multiwavelength data, particularly in the optical and infrared regime, and morphological information about the CJF sources. We perform a statistical analysis of the properties of this sample. We find 1 ULIRG (Mrk 231) included in the CJF prototype of a transitory system. In total, 28.6% of the CJF sources with z≤0.4 are distorted or have a companion. Given the unbiased sample used here, this provides strong evidence of the ubiquity of the merger phenomenon in the context of active galaxies. We find a correlation between the radio and the near-infrared luminosity of the high-luminosity sources, interpreted in the context of the interplay between a star-formation and AGN component. We find a connection between variability and evolutionary transitory systems, as selected on the basis of their near-infrared colors. We select 28 sources that trace the different evolution phases of an AGN, as well as a number of the most promising BBH candidates. We find 4 sources with almost periodical variability in the optical and radio on similar timescales.
galaxies: statistics - galaxies: active - galaxies: nuclei - galaxies: evolution - galaxies: fundamental parameters - galaxies: jets