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Centro de Astrofísica da Universidade do Porto

A radio census of nuclear activity in nearby galaxies

M. E. Filho, P. D. Barthel, L. C. Ho

In order to determine the incidence of black hole accretion-driven nuclear activity in nearby galaxies, as manifested by their radio emission, we have carried out a high-resolution Multi-Element Radio-Linked Interferometer Network (MERLIN) survey of LINERs and composite LINER/Hii galaxies from a complete magnitude-limited sample of bright nearby galaxies (Palomar sample) with unknown arcsecond-scale radio properties. There are fifteen radio detections, of which three are new subarcsecond-scale radio core detections, all being candidate AGN. The detected galaxies supplement the already known low-luminosity AGN - low-luminosity Seyferts, LINERs and composite LINER/Hii galaxies - in the Palomar sample. Combining all radio-detected Seyferts, LINERs and composite LINER/Hii galaxies (LTS sources), we obtain an overall radio detection rate of 54% (22% of all bright nearby galaxies) and we estimate that at least ~50% (~20% of all bright nearby galaxies) are true AGN. The radio powers of the LTS galaxies allow the construction of a local radio luminosity function. By comparing the luminosity function with those of selected moderate-redshift AGN, selected from the 2dF/NVSS survey, we find that LTS sources naturally extend the RLF of powerful AGN down to powers of about 10 times that of Sgr A*.

Astronomy and Astrophysics
Volume 451, Page 71
May 2006

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Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences (IA) is a new but long anticipated research infrastructure with a national dimension. It embodies a bold but feasible vision for the development of Astronomy, Astrophysics and Space Sciences in Portugal, taking full advantage and fully realizing the potential created by the national membership of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO). IA resulted from the merging the two most prominent research units in the field in Portugal: the Centre for Astrophysics of the University of Porto (CAUP) and the Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics of the University of Lisbon (CAAUL). It currently hosts more than two-thirds of all active researchers working in Space Sciences in Portugal, and is responsible for an even greater fraction of the national productivity in international ISI journals in the area of Space Sciences. This is the scientific area with the highest relative impact factor (1.65 times above the international average) and the field with the highest average number of citations per article for Portugal.

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