X-ray-emitting GHz-peaked-spectrum galaxies: Testing a dynamical-radiative model with broadband spectra

L. Ostorero*, R. Moderski, Stawarz, A. Diaferio, I. Kowalska, C. C. Cheung, J. Kataoka, M. C. Begelman, S. J. Wagner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


In a dynamical-radiative model we recently developed to describe the physics of compact, GHz-peaked-spectrum (GPS) sources, the relativistic jets propagate across the inner, kpc-sized region of the host galaxy, while the electron population of the expanding lobes evolves and emits synchrotron and inverse-Compton (IC) radiation. Interstellar-medium gas clouds engulfed by the expanding lobes, and photoionized by the active nucleus, are responsible for the radio spectral turnover through free-free absorption (FFA) of the synchrotron photons. The model provides a description of the evolution of the spectral energy distribution (SED) of GPS sources with their expansion, predicting significant and complex high-energy emission, from the X-ray to the γ-ray frequency domain. Here, we test this model with the broadband SEDs of a sample of 11 X-ray-emitting GPS galaxies with compact-symmetric-object morphology, and show that (1) the shape of the radio continuum at frequencies lower than the spectral turnover is indeed well accounted for by the FFA mechanism and (2) the observed X-ray spectra can be interpreted as non-thermal radiation produced via IC scattering of the local radiation fields off the lobe particles, providing a viable alternative to the thermal, accretion-disk-dominated scenario. We also show that the relation between the hydrogen column densities derived from the X-ray (N H) and radio (N HI) data of the sources is suggestive of a positive correlation, which, if confirmed by future observations, would provide further support to our scenario of high-energy emitting lobes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1071-1093
Number of pages23
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Galaxies: active
  • Galaxies: jets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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