Journal Article

New insights on the QSO radio-loud/radio-quiet dichotomy: SDSS spectra in the context of the 4D eigenvector1 parameter space

S. Zamfir, J. W. Sulentic and P. Marziani

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 387, issue 2, pages 856-870
Published in print June 2008 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online May 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
New insights on the QSO radio-loud/radio-quiet dichotomy: SDSS spectra in the context of the 4D eigenvector1 parameter space

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We search for a dichotomy/bimodality between radio-loud (RL) and radio-quiet (RQ) type 1 active galactic nuclei (AGN). We examine several samples of Slogan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) quasi-stellar objects (QSOs) with high signal-to-noise ratio optical spectra and matching Faint Images of the Radio Sky at Twenty-cm/NRAO VLA Sky Survey (FIRST/NVSS) radio observations. We use the radio data to identify the weakest RL sources with a Fanaroff–Riley type II (FR II) structure to define a RL/RQ boundary which corresponds to log L1.4 GHz= 31.6 erg s−1 Hz−1. We measure the properties of broad-line Hβ and Fe ii emission to define the optical plane of a 4DE1 spectroscopic diagnostic space. The RL quasars occupy a much more restricted domain in this optical plane compared to the RQ sources, which a 2D Kolmogorov–Smirnov test finds to be highly significant. This tells us that the range of broad-line region kinematics and structure for RL sources is more restricted than for the RQ QSOs, which supports the notion of dichotomy. FR II and CD RL sources also show significant 4DE1 domain differences that likely reflect differences in line-of-sight orientation (inclined versus face-on, respectively) for these two classes. The possibility of a distinct radio-intermediate (RI) population between RQ and RL source is disfavoured because a 4DE1 diagnostic space comparison shows no difference between RI and RQ sources. We show that searches for dichotomy in radio versus bolometric luminosity diagrams will yield ambiguous results mainly because in a reasonably complete sample, the radio brightest RQ sources will be numerous enough to blur the gap between RQ and RL sources. Within resolution constraints of NVSS and FIRST, we find no FR I sources among the broad-line quasar population.

Keywords: galaxies: active; quasars: emission lines; quasars: general

Journal Article.  14030 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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