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Radio Luminosity Functions of Active Galaxies

from II - Luminosity Functions and Continuum Energy Distributions

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 August 2010

J.A. Peacock
Affiliation:
Royal Observatory, Blackford Hill, Edinburgh EH9 3HJ, UK
Andrew Robinson
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
Roberto Juan Terlevich
Affiliation:
Royal Greenwich Observatory, Cambridge
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Summary

Introduction

Philosophy

It seems that every time a new population of extragalactic object is discovered, the first reaction of astronomers is to construct a luminosity function. Beyond sheer botany, this serves the useful purpose of giving a check on the completeness of surveys. The long-term motivation is Physics: the hope that the luminosity function and its change with redshift (the nearest we can get to an evolutionary track for a single object) will tell us something about how these spectacular sources operate. However, it has to be said that this objective remains in the far distance, despite nearly three decades of effort.

Why the radio waveband? Apart from the weight of history (radio astronomers take the blame for starting AGN research), the lack of foreground extinction and the lack of catalogue contamination by galactic objects are still very powerful advantages.

Notation

There are a few (arbitrary) conventions commonly adopted in the literature on this subject. The comoving density of objects per unit log10 power is denoted by ρ. The Hubble constant, where quoted explicitly, is given in the form h = H0/100 kms−1Mpc−1. Unless otherwise specified, Ω = 1 and h = 0.5 are assumed.

Radio astronomers' who's who

Radio astronomy takes the brutalist line of ordering the Universe according to output.

Type
Chapter
Information
The Nature of Compact Objects in Active Galactic Nuclei
Proceedings of the 33rd Herstmonceux Conference, held in Cambridge, July 6-22, 1992
, pp. 101 - 109
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 1994

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