Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 591, L4-4 (2016/7-1)
The fraction of BL Lacertae objects in groups of galaxies.
Abstract (from CDS):
Context. BL Lac objects are a rare class of active galactic nuclei that typically show featureless optical spectra that make it difficult to estimate the redshift. A novel method for estimating the redshift of BL Lac objects has recently been proposed which assumes that these objects typically reside in groups of galaxies. Aims. The aim of this work is to estimate the fraction of BL Lac objects that reside in groups of galaxies. Methods. We use a sample of groups (M12 catalogue) selected by applying a friends-of-friends algorithm in the SDSS DR12. Galaxies in the M12 sample were cross-correlated with the sample of blazars in the BZCAT. We found that 121 galaxies in the M12 catalogue are blazars in the BZCAT sample, all but one are BL Lac objects, and a large fraction are classified as BL Lac-galaxy dominated. Results. Analysing the fraction of galaxies in groups as a function of redshift we have estimated a correction factor that takes into account the typical incompleteness of the catalogues based on the friends-of-friends algorithm. Once this factor was applied to the sample of BL Lac objects with a counterpart in the M12 catalogue, we found that the percentage of BL Lac objects in groups is >=67±8%. Conclusions. The high rate of BL Lac objects in groups found in this work strongly supports a recent method that has successfully estimated the redshift of BL Lac objects with featureless spectra.