Mid-infrared spectra of high-redshift (z > 2) radio galaxies
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We present the first mid-infrared Spitzer/Infraxed Spectrograph (IRS) observations of powerful radio galaxies at z > 2. These radio galaxies, 4C +23.56 (z = 2.48) and 6C J1908+7220 (z = 3.53), both show strong midinfrared continua, but with 6C J1908+7220 also showing strong PAH emission at rest-frame 6.2 and 7.7 µm. In 4C +23.56 we see no obvious PAH features above the continuum. The PAH emission in 6C J1908+7220 is the among the most distant observed to date and implies that there is a large instantaneous star formation rate (SFR). This is consistent with the strong detection of 6C J1908+7220 at far-IR and sub-mm wavelengths, indicative of large amounts of cold dust, ~109 M? Powerful radio galaxies at lower redshifts tend to have weak or undetectable PAH features and typically have lower far-IR luminosities. In addition, 4C +23.56 shows moderate silicate absorption as seen in less luminous radio galaxies, indicating T 9.7 µm = 0.3 ± 0.05. This feature is shifted out of the observed wavelength range for 6C J1908+7220. The correlation of strong PAH features with large amounts of cold dust, despite the presence of a powerful AGN, is in agreement with other recent results and implies that star formation at high redshift is. in some cases at least, associated with powerful, obscured AGN. © 2008, The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
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