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Disclosing the Radio Loudness Distribution Dichotomy in Quasars: An Unbiased Monte Carlo Approach Applied to the SDSS-FIRST Quasar Sample

Baloković, M. and Smolčić, V. and Ivezić, Ž. and Zamorani, G. and Schinnerer, E. and Kelly, B. C. (2012) Disclosing the Radio Loudness Distribution Dichotomy in Quasars: An Unbiased Monte Carlo Approach Applied to the SDSS-FIRST Quasar Sample. Astrophysical Journal, 759 (1). Art. No. 30. ISSN 0004-637X. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/759/1/30.

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We investigate the dichotomy in the radio loudness distribution of quasars by modeling their radio emission and various selection effects using a Monte Carlo approach. The existence of two physically distinct quasar populations, the radio-loud and radio-quiet quasars, is controversial and over the last decade a bimodal distribution of radio loudness of quasars has been both affirmed and disputed. We model the quasar radio luminosity distribution with simple unimodal and bimodal distribution functions. The resulting simulated samples are compared to a fiducial sample of 8300 quasars drawn from the SDSS DR7 Quasar Catalog and combined with radio observations from the FIRST survey. Our results indicate that the SDSS-FIRST sample is best described by a radio loudness distribution which consists of two components, with (12 ± 1)% of sources in the radio-loud component. On the other hand, the evidence for a local minimum in the loudness distribution (bimodality) is not strong and we find that previous claims for its existence were probably affected by the incompleteness of the FIRST survey close to its faint limit. We also investigate the redshift and luminosity dependence of the radio loudness distribution and find tentative evidence that at high redshift radio-loud quasars were rarer, on average louder, and exhibited a smaller range in radio loudness. In agreement with other recent work, we conclude that the SDSS-FIRST sample strongly suggests that the radio loudness distribution of quasars is not a universal function, and that more complex models than presented here are needed to fully explain available observations

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Baloković, M.0000-0003-0476-6647
Smolčić, V.0000-0002-3893-8614
Schinnerer, E.0000-0002-3933-7677
Additional Information:© 2012 American Astronomical Society. Received 2011 January 18; accepted 2012 August 24; published 2012 October 15. The authors wish to thank the anonymous referee for helpful comments and suggestions which improved the paper. M.B. acknowledges support from the International Fulbright Science and Technology Award. V.S. acknowledges support from NASA grant HST-GO-09822.31-A. Ž.I. acknowledges support by NSF grant AST-0807500 to the University of Washington, NSF grant AST-0551161 to LSST for design and development activity, and by the Croatian National Science Foundation grant O-1548-2009. G.Z. acknowledges partial support from the INAF grant PRIN-2010. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework program under grant agreement 229517. Funding for the SDSS and SDSS-II has been provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Participating Institutions, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Japanese Monbukagakusho, the Max Planck Society, and the Higher Education Funding Council for England. The SDSS Web site is The SDSS is managed by the Astrophysical Research Consortium for the Participating Institutions. The Participating Institutions are the American Museum of Natural History, Astrophysical Institute Potsdam, University of Basel, University of Cambridge, Case Western Reserve University, University of Chicago, Drexel University, Fermilab, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Japan Participation Group, Johns Hopkins University, the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics, the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, the Korean Scientist Group, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (LAMOST), Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Max-Planck-Institute for Astronomy (MPIA), the Max-Planck-Institute for Astrophysics (MPA), New Mexico State University, Ohio State University, University of Pittsburgh, University of Portsmouth, Princeton University, the United States Naval Observatory, and the University of Washington.
Group:COSMOS, Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
National Science Foundation (Croatia)O-1548-2009
Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF)PRIN-2010
European Research Council (ERC)229517
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Department of Energy (DOE)UNSPECIFIED
Japanese MonbukagakushoUNSPECIFIED
Higher Education Funding Council for EnglandUNSPECIFIED
Max Planck SocietyUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:galaxies: active; galaxies: evolution; galaxies: high-redshift; methods: statistical; quasars: general; radio continuum: galaxies
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20121217-120051560
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Disclosing the Radio Loudness Distribution Dichotomy in Quasars: An Unbiased Monte Carlo Approach Applied to the SDSS-FIRST Quasar Sample M. Baloković, V. Smolčić, Ž. Ivezić, G. Zamorani, E. Schinnerer, and B. C. Kelly doi:10.1088/0004-637X/759/1/30
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:36013
Deposited On:17 Dec 2012 21:26
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:19

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