University of Hertfordshire

From the same journal

From the same journal

By the same authors

When galaxies collide: understanding the broad absorption-line radio galaxy 4C +72.26

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1089-1099
Number of pages11
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Publication statusPublished - 2010


We present a range of new observations of the 'broad absorption-line radio galaxy' 4C +72.26 (z≈ 3.5) , including sensitive rest-frame ultraviolet integral field spectroscopy using the Gemini/GMOS-N instrument and Subaru/CISCO K-band imaging and spectroscopy. We show that 4C +72.26 is a system of two vigorously star-forming galaxies superimposed along the line of sight separated by ∼1300 ± 200 km s−1 in velocity, with each demonstrating spectroscopically resolved absorption lines. The most active star-forming galaxy also hosts the accreting supermassive black hole which powers the extended radio source. We conclude that the star formation is unlikely to have been induced by a shock caused by the passage of the radio jet, and instead propose that a collision is a more probable trigger for the star formation. Despite the massive starburst, the ultraviolet-mid-infrared spectral energy distribution suggests that the pre-existing stellar population comprises ∼1012 M⊙ of stellar mass, with the current burst only contributing a further ∼2 per cent, suggesting that 4C +72.26 has already assembled most of its final stellar mass.


Original article can be found at: Copyright Royal Astronomical Society

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