The AGN content of ultraluminous IR galaxies: High resolution VLA imaging of the IRAS 1 Jy ULIRG sample

NM Nagar*, AS Wilson, H Falcke, S Veilleux, R Maiolino

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper presents the results of a high resolution radio imaging survey of 83 of the 118 ultraluminous infrared galaxies (ULIRGs) in the IRAS 1 Jy ULIRG sample. We have observed these ULIRGs at 15 GHz with the Very Large Array (VLA). We find that similar to75% of Seyferts (both type 1 and 2) and LINERs have radio nuclei which are compact at our 150 mas resolution. The detection rate of H II nuclei is significantly lower (32%); the detections among these are preferentially H II + LINER/Seyfert composite nuclei. Among ULIRGs with multiple optical or near-IR nuclei our observations detected only one (or no) nucleus; in these the radio detection is typically towards the brightest near-IR nucleus. The compactness of the radio sources, the higher detection rates in AGN-type nuclei than H II nuclei, the preferential detection of nuclei with unresolved point sources in the near-IR, the low soft X-ray to nuclear radio luminosity ratio (arguing against thermal emission powering the radio nuclei), and the lack of correlation between radio power and Halpha luminosity, all support an origin of the detected radio nuclei in AGN related activity. This result is especially interesting for LINER ULIRGs for which signatures of AGNs have often been ambiguous in other wavebands. Such a high incidence of AGN would provide, for the first time, a large sample in which to study the interplay between AGN, starbursts, and galaxy mergers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-121
Number of pages7
JournalAstronomy & astrophysics
Volume409
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct-2003

Keywords

  • accretion, accretion disks
  • galaxies : active
  • galaxies : jets
  • radio continuum : galaxies
  • surveys
  • LUMINOUS INFRARED GALAXIES
  • BASE-LINE INTERFEROMETRY
  • ACTIVE GALACTIC NUCLEUS
  • RADIO-SOURCES
  • OPTICAL SPECTROSCOPY
  • SEYFERT-GALAXIES
  • 1-JY SAMPLE
  • CHANDRA
  • STARBURSTS
  • VLBI

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