Scientific interests

Active galaxies and quasars are the focus of Peter Barthel’s scientific interests. Active galaxies harbor a black hole accretion driven power house in their centres (see f.i. the Wikipedia description). The accretion process generates unusually strong optical, infrared, X-ray and occasionally also radio emission, which makes active galaxies among the most luminous and exotic objects in the Universe. Owing to their high luminosity, active galaxies can be traced to the outer edges of the Universe, which makes them even more interesting. It has also been shown that active galaxies are prolific star-formers: as such they can be considered as the locations of excessive fireworks in the Universe.

Together with his students and collaborators throughout the world, Barthel has studied nearby and distant active galaxies and quasars with cutting edge instruments on earth and in space. Combining their various properties, he was among the first to propose that seemingly different classes of active galaxies can be unified, i.e., belong to one and the same parent population whereby the viewing angle differentiates the classes.. His involvement with infrared astronomy in space has allowed him in recent years to study the nuclear accretion power in relation to the global host galaxy star-formation.

Selected recent publications

A radio census of nuclear activity in nearby galaxies – M.E. Filho, P.D. Barthel, L.C. Ho, 2006, Astron.Ap. 451, 71

GPS radio sources: new optical observations and an updated master list – A. Labiano, P.D. Barthel et al., 2007, Astron.Ap. 463, 97

Dust tori in radio galaxies – G. van der Wolk, P.D. Barthel, R.F. Peletier, J.W. Pel, 2010, Astron.Ap. 511, 64

The asymmetric radio structure and record jet of giant quasar 4C34.47 – S. Hocuk and P.D. Barthel, 2010, Astron.Ap. 523, A9

Extreme host galaxy growth in powerful early-epoch radio galaxies – P. Barthel, M. Haas, C. Leipski, B. Wilkes, 2012, Ap.J. 757, L26

Deep, wide-field, global VLBI observations of the HDF-N and flanking fields – S. Chi, P.D. Barthel, and M.A. Garrett, 2013, Astron.Ap. 550, A68

The unification of powerful quasars and radio galaxies and their relation to other massive galaxies – P. Podigachoski, P. Barthel, M. Haas, C. Leipski, and B. Wilkes, 2015, Ap.J. 806, L11

Starbursts and dusty tori in distant 3CR radio galaxies – P. Podigachoski, B. Rocca-Volmerange, P. Barthel, G. Drouart, M. Fioc, 2016, MNRAS 462, 4183

Radiative age mapping of the remnant radio galaxy B2 0924+30: the LOFAR perspective – A. Shulevski, R. Morganti, J. Harwood, P. Barthel, et al., 2017, Astron.Ap. 600, A65

Starburst-driven Superwinds in Quasar Host Galaxies – P. Barthel, P. Podigachoski, B. Wilkes, M. Haas, 2017, Ap.J. 843, L16

ALMA resolves the stellar birth explosion in distant quasar 3C298 – P.D. Barthel, M.J.F. Versteeg, P. Podigachoski, M. Haas, B.J. Wilkes, C. de Breuck, S.G. Djorgovski, 2018, Ap.J. 866, L3

Recent press releases

The first results (2012) of the Herschel Space Observatory project dealing with the starburst nature of distant 3C radio galaxies were announced here.  Subsequent work (2017) relating quasar winds to these starbursts was described in an ESA web release.

The cutting edge Hubble Deep Field results (2012) obtained with the European VLBI Network together with (the late) Seungyoup Chi and Michael Garrett were communicated by the ASTRON Foundation.

The first results of a unique imaging project with the revolutionary ALMA telescope, targeting the dust in the host galaxies of distant quasars and radio galaxies, were  communicated by the NOVA Press Office.