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Search and analysis of giant radio galaxies with associated nuclei (SAGAN). II. Molecular gas content of giant radio galaxies

Abstract : Radio galaxies with jets of relativistic particles are usually hosted by massive elliptical galaxies with active nuclei powered by accretion of interstellar matter onto a supermassive black hole. In some rare cases (< 5%), their jets drive the overall structure to sizes larger than 700 kpc, and they are called giant radio galaxies (GRGs). A very small fraction of the population of such radio galaxies contains molecular and atomic gas in the form of rings or discs that can fuel star formation. The origin of this gas is not well known; it has sometimes been associated with a minor merger with a gas-rich disc galaxy (e.g. Centaurus A) or cooling of material from a hot X-ray atmosphere (e.g. cooling flows). The giant radio jets might be the extreme evolution of these objects, and they can teach us about the radio galaxy evolution. We selected 12 targets from a catalogue of 820 GRGs that are likely to be in a gas-accretion and star formation phase. The targets were selected from the mid-infrared to contain heated dust. We report here the results of IRAM-30m observations, the molecular gas content, and the star formation efficiency, and we discuss the origin of the gas and disc morphology. Three out of our 12 targets are detected, and for the others, we report significant upper limits. We combine our three detections and upper limits with four additional detected GRGs from the literature to discuss the results. Most of the GRG targets belong to the main sequence, and a large fraction are in the passive domain. Their star formation efficiency is comparable to normal galaxies, except for two galaxies that are deficient in molecular gas with a short (∼200 Myr) depletion time, and a quiescent gas-rich giant spiral galaxy. In general, the depletion time is much longer than the lifetime of the giant radio jet.

Based on observations carried out with IRAM-30m.

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Submitted on : Friday, July 8, 2022 - 2:50:54 PM
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P. Dabhade, F. Combes, P. Salomé, J. Bagchi, M. Mahato. Search and analysis of giant radio galaxies with associated nuclei (SAGAN). II. Molecular gas content of giant radio galaxies. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2020, 643, ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/202038676⟩. ⟨insu-03718019⟩

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