In a recent breakthrough, astronomers have discovered a previously unknown population of ‘elusive dying radio galaxies’, thanks to deep radio surveys.
Radio galaxies are galaxies that are extremely bright in the radio spectrum. They are believed to be powered by supermassive black holes at their centres, which emit jets of particles and radiation in opposite directions, out into the surrounding space.
Until now, astronomers had only been able to observe the brightest radio galaxies. But with the help of deep radio surveys, they have now been able to detect a new population of fainter, ‘elusive’ radio galaxies.
These newly discovered galaxies are believed to be in the process of ‘dying’, as their jets of particles and radiation become weaker and eventually fade away. This means they are much harder to detect than their brighter counterparts.
The discovery of these ‘elusive dying radio galaxies’ could provide astronomers with valuable insights into the evolution of galaxies, as well as the role of supermassive black holes in their evolution.
The findings were published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The lead author of the study, Dr. Julia Riley, said: “These galaxies are a missing link in our understanding of the evolution of galaxies and their supermassive black holes.”
The research team hopes that their discovery will lead to further studies of the evolution of galaxies, and the role of supermassive black holes in this process.
The research was funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council and the European Research Council.