Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 668A, 186 (2022/12-1)
Extragalactic peaked-spectrum radio sources at low frequencies are young radio galaxies.
SLOB M.M., CALLINGHAM J.R., ROTTGERING H.J.A., WILLIAMS W.L., DUNCAN K.J., DE GASPERIN F., HARDCASTLE M.J. and MILEY G.K.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present a sample of 373 peaked-spectrum (PS) sources with spectral peaks around 150 MHz, selected using a subset of the two LOw Frequency ARray (LOFAR) all-sky surveys, the LOFAR Two Meter Sky Survey and the LOFAR LBA Sky Survey. These LOFAR surveys are the most sensitive low-frequency widefield surveys to date, allowing us to select low-luminosity peaked-spectrum sources. Our sample increases the number of known PS sources in our survey area by a factor 50. The 5 GHz luminosity distribution of our PS sample shows we sample the lowest luminosity PS sources to date by nearly an order of magnitude. Since high-frequency gigahertz-peaked spectrum sources and compact steep-spectrum sources are hypothesised to be the precursors to large radio galaxies, we investigate whether this is also the case for our sample of low-frequency PS sources. Using optical line emission criteria, we find that our PS sources are predominately high-excitation radio galaxies instead of low-excitation radio galaxies, corresponding to a quickly evolving population. We compute the radio source counts of our PS sample, and find they are scaled down by a factor of ≈40 compared to a general sample of radio-loud active galactic nuclei (AGN). This implies that the lifetimes of PS sources are 40 times shorter than large-scale radio galaxies if their luminosity functions are identical. To investigate this, we compute the first radio luminosity function for a homogeneously selected PS sample. We find that for 144 MHz luminosities ≳1025 W Hz–1, the PS luminosity function has the same shape as an unresolved radio-loud AGN population, but shifted down by a factor of ≈-pagination10. We interpret this as strong evidence that these high-luminosity PS sources evolve into large-scale radio-loud AGN. For local low-luminosity PS sources, there is a surplus of PS sources, which we hypothesise to be the addition of frustrated PS sources that do not evolve into large-scale AGN.