Radio spectra of bright compact sources at z > 4.5
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This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: 2017 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
High-redshift quasars are important to study galaxy and active galactic nuclei evolution, test cosmological models and study supermassive black hole growth. Optical searches for high-redshift sources have been very successful, but radio searches are not hampered by dust obscuration and should be more effective at finding sources at even higher redshifts. Identifying high-redshift sources based on radio data is, however, not trivial. Here we report on newmultifrequency Giant MetrewaveRadio Telescope observations of eight z > 4.5 sources previously studied at high angular resolution with very long baseline interferometry (VLBI). Combining these observations with those from the literature, we construct broad-band radio spectra of all 30 z > 4.5 sources that have been observed with VLBI. In the sample we found flat, steep and peaked spectra in approximately equal proportions. Despite several selection effects, we conclude that the z > 4.5 VLBI (and likely also non-VLBI) sources have diverse spectra and that only about a quarter of the sources in the sample have flat spectra. Previously, the majority of high-redshift radio sources were identified based on their ultrasteep spectra. Recently, a new method has been proposed to identify these objects based on their megahertzpeaked spectra. No method would have identified more than 18 per cent of the high-redshift sources in this sample. More effective methods are necessary to reliably identify complete samples of high-redshift sources based on radio data.
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