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Preprint typeset using L ATEX style emulateapj v. 04/03/99 DISCOVERY OF A NUCLEAR GAS BAR FEEDING THE ACTIVE NUCLEUS IN CIRCINUS 1

By R. Maiolino, A. Alonso-herrero, S. Anders, A. Quillen, M. J. Rieke and G. H. Rieke


We report the discovery of gas inflow motions towards the active nucleus of the Circinus galaxy caused by the non-axisymmetric potential of a nuclear gas bar. Evidence for dust associated with the bar comes from the HST/NICMOS H − K color map, whereas the streaming motions along the gas bar are seen in the velocity field of the H2S(1)(1–0) emission line. The gas bar is about 100pc long with a visual extinction in excess of 10mag. Indication for the gaseous nature of this bar comes from the lack of a stellar counterpart even in the K band where the extinction is greatly reduced. We also use the NICMOS emission line images (Paα, [Sivi], and [Feii]) to study the innermost region of the ionization cones and the nuclear star forming activity. We discuss the possible relationship of these components with the gaseous bar

Year: 1999
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