10 years of LOFAR highlights: Revisiting the Fanaroff-Riley dichotomy and radio-galaxy morphology with the LOFAR Two-Metre Sky Survey

By dr Beatriz Mingo, Open University

It has been known since the 1970s that the radio structures made by jets from black holes come in two types: very powerful jets are brightest at the edges and weaker jets are brightest in the middle and fade out at large distances.

Published by the editorial team, 5 June 2020

Our work with LOFAR has revealed a new population of low-power jets with an edge-bright appearance, which was mostly invisible to previous surveys, and which breaks this traditional view. These jets seem to live in smaller, less dense galaxies and so, although relatively weak, they do not get disrupted early on and can travel undisturbed for hundreds of thousands of light-years. Because the appearance of the jet is linked to its interaction with the environment it travels through, this population could shed new light on how black holes influence the galaxies and clusters they live in.

Credit image on the left: Mingo, Croston & LOFAR surveys team, credit image on the right: Heesen & LOFAR surveys team.

This highlight is based on the article Revisiting the Fanaroff-Riley dichotomy and radio-galaxy morphology with the LOFAR Two-Metre Sky Survey (LoTSS) Mingo, B.;Croston, J. H.;Hardcastle, M. J.;Best, P. N.;Duncan, K. J.;Morganti, R.; Rottgering, H. J. A.; Sabater, J.; Shimwell, T. W.;Williams, W. L.;Brienza, M.;Gurkan, G.;Mahatma, V. H.;Morabito, L. K.; Prandoni, I.;Bondi, M.;Ineson, J.;Mooney, S.

doi: 10.1093/mnras/stz1901

On 12 June 2020, LOFAR celebrates its tenth anniversary. The radio telescope is the world’s largest low frequency instrument and is one of the pathfinders of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), which is currently being developed. Throughout its ten years of operation, LOFAR has made some amazing discoveries. It has been a key part of groundbreaking research, both in astronomy and engineering. Here we feature some – but definitely not all – of these past highlights, with surely more to come in the future.


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