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Title: Integrated radio continuum spectra of galaxies

We investigate the spectral shape of the total continuum radiation, between 74 MHz and 5 GHz (400-6 cm in wavelength), for a large sample of bright galaxies. We take advantage of the overlapping survey coverage of the VLA Low-Frequency Sky Survey, the Westerbork Northern Sky Survey, the NRAO VLA Sky Survey, and the Green Bank 6 cm Survey to achieve significantly better resolution, sensitivity, and sample size compared to prior efforts of this nature. For our sample of 250 bright galaxies we measure a mean spectral index, α, of –0.69 between 1.4 and 4.85 GHz, –0.55 between 325 MHz and 1.4 GHz, and –0.45 between 74 and 325 MHz, which amounts to a detection of curvature in the mean spectrum. The magnitude of this curvature is approximately Δα = –0.2 per logarithmic frequency decade when fit with a generalized function having constant curvature. No trend in low-frequency spectral flattening versus galaxy inclination is evident in our data, suggesting that free-free absorption is not a satisfying explanation for the observed curvature. The ratio of thermal to non-thermal emission is estimated through two independent methods: (1) using the IRAS far-IR fluxes and (2) with the value of the total spectral index. Methodmore » (1) results in a distribution of 1.4 GHz thermal fractions of 9% ± 3%, which is consistent with previous studies, while method (2) produces a mean 1.4 GHz thermal fraction of 51% with dispersion 26%. The highly implausible values produced by method (2) indicate that the sum of typical power-law thermal and non-thermal components is not a viable model for the total spectral index between 325 and 1.4 GHz. An investigation into relationships between spectral index, infrared-derived quantities, and additional source properties reveals that galaxies with high radio luminosity in our sample are found to have, on average, a flatter radio spectral index, and early types tend to have excess radio emission when compared to the radio-infrared ratio of later types. Early types also have radio emission that is more compact than later type galaxies, as compared to the optical size of the galaxy. Despite these differences, no relation between spectral index and galaxy type is detected.« less
Authors:
;  [1] ;  [2]
  1. National Radio Astronomy Observatory, 1003 Lopezville Rd, Socorro, NM 87801 (United States)
  2. New Mexico Tech, Socorro, NM 87801 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22342149
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astronomical Journal (New York, N.Y. Online); Journal Volume: 149; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ABSORPTION; APPROXIMATIONS; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; DATA; DETECTION; DISPERSIONS; DISTRIBUTION; EMISSION; FAR INFRARED RADIATION; GALAXIES; GHZ RANGE; INCLINATION; LUMINOSITY; RESOLUTION; SENSITIVITY; SPECTRA; STATISTICS; WAVELENGTHS