The radio emission from active galactic nuclei

J. F. Radcliffe, P. D. Barthel, M. A. Garrett, R. J. Beswick, A. P. Thomson, T. W. B. Muxlow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Downloads (Pure)


Context. For nearly seven decades, astronomers have been studying active galaxies, that is to say, galaxies with actively accreting central supermassive black holes: active galactic nuclei (AGN). A small fraction are characterized by luminous, powerful radio emission: This class is known as radio-loud AGN. A substantial fraction, the so-called radio-quiet AGN population, display intermediate or weak radio emission. However, an appreciable fraction of strong X-ray-emitting AGN are characterized by the absence of radio emission, down to an upper limit of about 10−7 times the luminosity of the most powerful radio-loud AGN.

Aims. We wish to address the nature of these – seemingly radio-silent – X-ray-luminous AGN and their host galaxies to determine if there is any radio emission, and, if so, where it originates.

Methods. Focusing on the GOODS-N field, we examine the nature of these objects, employing stacking techniques on ultra-deep radio data obtained with the JVLA. We combine these radio data with Spitzer far-infrared data.

Results. We establish the absence, or totally insignificant contribution, of jet-driven radio emission in roughly half of the otherwise normal population of X-ray-luminous AGN, which appear to reside in normal star-forming galaxies.

Conclusions. AGN- or jet-driven radio emission is simply a mechanism that may be at work or may be dormant in galaxies with actively accreting black holes. The latter cases can be classified as radio-silent AGN.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L9
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'The radio emission from active galactic nuclei'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this