Radio and far-IR emission associated with a massive star-forming galaxy candidate at z ∼ 6.8: a radio-loud AGN in the reionization era?

Ryan Endsley, Daniel P. Stark, Xiaohui Fan, Renske Smit, Feige Wang, Jinyi Yang, Kevin Hainline, Jianwei Lyu, Rychard Bouwens, Sander Schouws

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


We report the identification of radio (0.144-3 GHz) and mid-, far-infrared, and sub-mm (24-850μm) emission at the position of one of 41 UV-bright (M UV≲ -21.25) z 6.6-6.9 Lyman-break galaxy candidates in the 1.5 deg2 COSMOS field. This source, COS-87259, exhibits a sharp flux discontinuity (factor >3) between two narrow/intermediate bands at 9450 and 9700 Å and is undetected in all nine bands blueward of 9600 Å, as expected from a Lyman alpha break at z ≲ 6.8. The full multiwavelength (X-ray through radio) data of COS-87529 can be self-consistently explained by a very massive (M∗ = 1010.8 M·) and extremely red (rest-UV slope β = -0.59) z ≲ 6.8 galaxy with hyperluminous infrared emission (LIR = 1013.6 L·) powered by both an intense burst of highly obscured star formation (SFR ≈ 1800 M· yr-1) and an obscured (τ 9.7μ m = 7.7\pm 2.5) radio-loud (L1.4 GHz ≈ 1025.4 W Hz-1) active galactic nucleus (AGN). The radio emission is compact (1.04 ± 0.12 arcsec) and exhibits an ultra-steep spectrum between 1.32 and 3 GHz (α =-1.57+0.22-0.21) that flattens at lower frequencies (α = -0.86+0.22-0.16 between 0.144 and 1.32 GHz), consistent with known z > 4 radio galaxies. We also demonstrate that COS-87259 may reside in a significant (11×) galaxy overdensity, as common for systems hosting radio-loud AGN. While we find that low-redshift solutions to the optical + near-infrared data are not preferred, a spectroscopic redshift will ultimately be required to establish the true nature of COS-87259 beyond any doubt. If confirmed to lie at z ≲ 6.8, the properties of COS-87259 would be consistent with a picture wherein AGN and highly obscured star formation activity are fairly common among very massive (M∗ > 1010 M·) reionization-era galaxies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4248-4261
Number of pages14
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2022


  • Dark ages, reionization
  • First stars
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: high-redshift
  • Radio continuum: galaxies
  • Submillimetre: galaxies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Radio and far-IR emission associated with a massive star-forming galaxy candidate at z ∼ 6.8: a radio-loud AGN in the reionization era?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this