Physical properties of very powerful FRII radio galaxies

C. P. O'Dea, R. A. Daly, P. Kharb, K. A. Freeman, S. A. Baum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Aims. We estimate the ages and physical properties of powerful radio galaxies. Methods. An analysis of new multi-wavelength VLA observations of eleven very powerful classical double (FRIIb) radio galaxies with redshifts between 0.4 and 1.3 is presented. We estimate ages and velocities for each side of each source. The eleven new sources are combined with previously studied samples and the characteristics of the full sample of 31 sources are studied; the full sample includes sources with redshifts between 0.056 and 1.79, and core-hot spot sizes of about 30 to 400 kpc. Results. The velocities are independent of core-hotspot separation, suggesting the rate of growth of a given source is roughly constant over the source lifetime. We combine the rate of growth, width, and pressure of a source to study the beam, power, lifetime, energy, and ambient gas density using standard methods previously applied, to smaller samples. Typical beam powers are in the range from 1044 to 1046 erg/s; we show that this quantity is insensitive to assumptions regarding minimum energy conditions. The beam powers are independent of core-hotspot separation suggesting that the beam power of a given source is roughly constant over the source lifetime. Typical, total source lifetimes are found to be about a few × (106-107) years, and typical total outflow energies (E/c2) are found to be about 5 × (105-106) M. Ambient gas densities are found to decrease with increasing core-hotspot distance, but have no redshift dependence. Overall, the results obtained with the sample of 31 sources studied here are consistent with those obtained earlier with smaller samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-488
Number of pages18
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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