The link between accretion mode and environment in radio-loud active galaxies
Croston, J. H.
Evans, D. A.
The interactions between radio-loud AGN and their environments play an important rôle in galaxy and cluster evolution. Recent work has demonstrated fundamental differences between high- and low-excitation radio galaxies (HERGs and LERGs), and shown that they may have different relationships with their environments. In the Chandra Large Project ERA (Environments of Radio-loud AGN), we made the first systematic X-ray environmental study of the cluster environments of radio galaxies at a single epoch (z ~ 0.5), and found tentative evidence for a correlation between radio luminosity and cluster X-ray luminosity. We also found that this relationship appeared to be driven by the LERG subpopulation. We have now repeated the analysis with a low-redshift sample (z ~ 0.1), and found strong correlations between radio luminosity and environment richness and between radio luminosity and central density for the LERGs but not for the HERGs. These results are consistent with models in which the HERGs are fuelled from accretion discs maintained from local reservoirs of gas, while LERGs are fuelled more directly by gas ingested from the intracluster medium. Comparing the samples, we found that although the maximum environment richness of the HERG environments is similar in both samples, there are poorer HERG environments in the z ~ 0.1 sample than in the z ~ 0.5 sample. We have therefore tentative evidence of evolution of the HERG environments. We found no differences between the LERG subsamples for the two epochs, as would be expected if radio and cluster luminosities are related.