Deep Huddle Space Telescope1/Planetary Camera imaging of a young compact radio galaxy at z = 2.390

Rogier Windhorst, William C. Keel, Sam M. Pascarelle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


We present deep 63-orbit Hubble Space Telescope/Planetary Camera images at ∼0″.06 FWHM resolution in the filters B450, V606, and I814 - as well as in redshifted Lyα - of the radio source 53W002, a compact narrow-line galaxy at z = 2.390 from the Leiden-Berkeley Deep Survey. These images allow us to distinguish several morphological components: (1) an unresolved nuclear point source (≲500 pc at z = 2.390 for H0 = 75, q0 = 0), likely the central active galactic nucleus (AGN) that contains ≲20%-25% of the total light in BVI; (2) a compact continuum core (re ≃ 0″.05); (3) a more extended envelope with an r1/4-like light profile and re ≃ 0″.25 (∼2 kpc); (4) two blue "clouds" roughly colinear across the nucleus, aligned with the radio source axis and contained well within the size of the radio source. The (B - I) color maps may suggest a narrow dust lane crossing between the nucleus and the smaller blue cloud. The radio source is not smaller than the distance between the blue continuum clouds and coincides with a bright Lyα "arc" in the western cloud, suggesting that jet-induced star formation could cause both blue clouds, except the outer parts of the western cloud. The shape of this larger blue cloud suggests reflected AGN continuum light shining through a cone (plus reradiated Lyα in emission). The Owens Valley Radio Observatory interferometric CO detection (Scoville et al.) on both sides of 53W002 - and in the same direction as the continuum clouds and the radio jet - also suggests a star-bursting region induced by its radio jet, at least in the inner parts. Hence, both mechanisms likely play a role in the "alignment effect." Even at radio powers ∼1.5 dex fainter than the 3CR sources, we thus find many of the same aligned features and complex morphology, although at much smaller angular scales and lower optical-UV luminosities. We discuss the consequences for 53W002's formation in the context of the 16 subgalactic objects at z ≃ 2.40 around 53W002 (Pascarelle et al.).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L27-L31
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART II
StatePublished - 1998


  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: formation
  • Galaxies: individual (53W002)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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