Blazars in the LOFAR Two-Metre Sky Survey First Data Release

S. Mooney, J. Quinn, J. R. Callingham, R. Morganti, K. Duncan, Leah K. Morabito, P. N. Best, G. Gürkan, M. J. Hardcastle, I. Prandoni, H. J. A. Röttgering, J. Sabater, T. W. Shimwell, A. Shulevski, C. Tasse, W. L. Williams

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Historically, the blazar population has been poorly understood at low frequencies because survey sensitivity and angular resolution limitations have made it difficult to identify megahertz counterparts. We used the LOFAR Two-Metre Sky Survey (LoTSS) first data release value-added catalogue (LDR1) to study blazars in the low-frequency regime with unprecedented sensitivity and resolution. We identified radio counterparts to all $98$ known sources from the Third \textit{Fermi}-LAT Point Source Catalogue (3FGL) or Roma-BZCAT Multi-frequency Catalogue of Blazars ($5^{\mathrm{th}}$ edition) that fall within the LDR1 footprint. Only the 3FGL unidentified $\gamma$-ray sources (UGS) could not be firmly associated with an LDR1 source; this was due to source confusion. We examined the redshift and radio luminosity distributions of our sample, finding flat-spectrum radio quasars (FSRQs) to be more distant and more luminous than BL Lacertae objects (BL Lacs) on average. Blazars are known to have flat spectra in the gigahertz regime but we found this to extend down to $144$ MHz, where the radio spectral index, $\alpha$, of our sample is $-0.17 \pm 0.14$. For BL Lacs, $\alpha = -0.13 \pm 0.16$ and for FSRQs, $\alpha = -0.15 \pm 0.17$. We also investigated the radio-to-$\gamma$-ray connection for the $30$ $\gamma$-ray-detected sources in our sample. We find Pearson's correlation coefficient is $0.45$ ($p = 0.069$). This tentative correlation and the flatness of the spectral index suggest that the beamed core emission contributes to the low-frequency flux density. We compare our sample distribution with that of the full LDR1 on colour-colour diagrams, and we use this information to identify possible radio counterparts to two of the four UGS within the LDR1 field. We will refine our results as LoTSS continues.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Early online date19 Nov 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Nov 2018


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