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Title: Testing the Radio-selection Method of Dual Active Galactic Nuclei in the Stripe 82 Field

We test the merger-induced dual active galactic nuclei (dAGNs) paradigm using a sample of 35 radio galaxy pairs from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Stripe 82 field. Using Keck optical spectroscopy, we confirm 21 pairs have consistent redshifts, constituting kinematic pairs; the remaining 14 pairs are line-of-sight projections. We classify the optical spectral signatures via emission line ratios, equivalent widths, and excess of radio power above star formation predicted outputs. We find six galaxies are classified as LINERs and seven are AGN/starburst composites. Most of the LINERs are retired galaxies, while the composites likely have AGN contribution. All of the kinematic pairs exhibit radio power more than 10× above the level expected from just star formation, suggestive of a radio AGN contribution. We also analyze high-resolution (0.″3) imaging at 6 GHz from the NSF’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array for 17 of the kinematic pairs. We find six pairs (two new, four previously known) host two separate radio cores, confirming their status as dAGNs. The remaining 11 pairs contain single AGNs, with most exhibiting prominent jets/lobes overlapping their companion. Our final census indicates a dAGN duty cycle slightly higher than predictions of purely stochastic fueling, although a larger sample (potentially culled from VLASS) is needed to fully address the dAGN fraction. We conclude that while dAGNs in the Stripe 82 field are rare, the merger process plays some role in their triggering and it facilitates low to moderate levels of accretion.

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DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
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Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal
Medium: X Size: Article No. 73
Article No. 73
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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