1,796 research outputs found

    The molecular spiral arms of NGC 6946

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    From CO-12(J=1 to 0) observations at 45 seconds resolution Tacconi and Young (1989) have found evidence for enhancements in both the CO emissivity and the massive star formation efficiency (MSFE) on optical spiral arms of the bright spiral galaxy NGC 6946. In the optically luminous and well-defined spiral arm in the NE quadrant, there are enhancements in both the H2 surface density and MSFE relative to the interarm regions. In contrast, a poorly defined arm in the SW shows no arm-interarm contrast in the MSFE. To further investigate the molecular gas content of these two spiral arms, researchers have made CO-12 J=2 to 1 and 3 to 2 observations with the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope. In the J=2 to 1 line, they made observations of the NE and SW spiral arm and interarm regions in 4 x 9 10 seconds spaced grids (36 points per grid). Because of decreased sensitivity in the J=3 to 2 line, they were limited to mapping the two arm regions in 2 x 3 10 seconds spaced grids (6 points per grid). The centers of each of the grids lie 2.4 minutes to the NE and 2.3 minutes to the SW of the nucleus of NGC 6946. With the CO J=2 to 1 data researchers are able to fully resolve the two observed spiral arms in NGC 6946. In both cases the CO emission is largely confined to the optical spiral arm regions with the peak observed T asterisk sub A being up to 4 times higher on the spiral arms than in the interarm regions. Researchers are currently estimating massive star formation efficiencies on and off the spiral arms through direct comparison of the CO maps with an H alpha image. They are also comparing the CO J=2 to 1 data with an HI map made at similar resolution. Thus, they will be able to determine structure in all components of the IS on scales of less than 20 inches

    NIR spectroscopy of the most massive open cluster in the Galaxy: Westerlund 1

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    Using ISAAC/VLT, we have obtained individual spectra of all NIR-bright stars in the central 2'x2' of the cluster Westerlund 1 (Wd 1) with a resolution of R~9000 at a central wavelength of 2.30 micron. This allowed us to determine radial velocities of ten post-main-sequence stars, and from these values a velocity dispersion. Assuming virial equilibrium, the dispersion of sigma=8.4 km/s leads to a total dynamical cluster mass of 1.25x10^5 solar masses, comparable to the photometric mass of the cluster. There is no extra-virial motion which would have to be interpreted as a signature of cluster expansion or dissolution.Comment: To appear in the proceedings of IAU 246: "Dynamical Evolution of Dense Stellar Systems" (E. Vesperini, M. Giersz, A. Sills, eds.

    Star Formation and Dynamics in the nuclei of AGN

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    Using adaptive optics on Keck and the VLT in the H- and K-bands, we have begun a project to probe the dynamics and star formation around AGN on scales of 0.1arcsec. The stellar content of the nucleus is traced through the 2.29micron CO2-0 and 1.62micron CO6-3 absorption bandheads. These features are directly spatially resolved, allowing us to measure the extent and distribution of the nuclear star forming region. The dynamics are traced through the 2.12micron H_2 1-0S(1) and 1.64micron [FeII] emission lines, as well as stellar absorption features. Matching disk models to the rotation curves at various position angles allows us to determine the mass of the stellar and gas components, and constrain the mass of the central black hole. In this contribution we summarise results for the two type~1 AGN Mkn231 and NGC7469.Comment: contribution to "The interplay among Black Holes, Stars and ISM in Galactic Nuclei", March 200

    Ultra-Luminous Infrared Mergers: Elliptical Galaxies in Formation?

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    We report high quality near-infrared spectroscopy of 12 ultra-luminous infrared galaxy mergers (ULIRGs). Our new VLT and Keck data provide ~0.5" resolution, stellar and gas kinematics of these galaxies most of which are compact systems in the last merger stages. We confirm that ULIRG mergers are 'ellipticals-in-formation'. Random motions dominate their stellar dynamics, but significant rotation is common. Gas and stellar dynamics are decoupled in most systems. ULIRGs fall on or near the fundamental plane of hot stellar systems, and especially on its less evolution sensitive, r(eff)-sigma projection. The ULIRG velocity dispersion distribution, their location in the fundamental plane and their distribution of v(rot)*sin(i)/sigma closely resemble those of intermediate mass (~L*), elliptical galaxies with moderate rotation. As a group ULIRGs do not resemble giant ellipticals with large cores and little rotation. Our results are in good agreement with other recent studies indicating that disky ellipticals with compact cores or cusps can form through dissipative mergers of gas rich, disk galaxies while giant ellipticals with large cores have a different formation history.Comment: submitted to Ap

    A multi-wavelength study of the peculiar galaxy NGC 2976

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    Researchers are currently studying NGC 2976 at many wavelengths to investigate the extent to which an interaction with M81 may have affected the star formation history of this galaxy. Here, researchers present observations of NGC 2976 made at 50 microns with the high resolution (CPC) instrument onboard Infrared Astronomy Satellite (IRAS) at 21-cm (both HI line and radio continuum) with the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT) and in the H alpha line with the Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) 36 inch telescope. The far infrared emission is not centrally peaked as in other spirals (e.g., Wainscoat et al. 1987), but has obvious intensity peaks near the ends of the disk. The ionized gas as inferred from the H alpha observations, is largely confined to two large, symmetrically placed emission regions near the ends of the disk. Finally, the HI and 21-cm radio continuum emission also exhibit this strongly double-peaked structure. At all of the above wavelengths the emission peaks are roughly coincident and lie approx. 1.2 minutes to the NW and approx. 1.1 minutes to the SE of the optical center of this galaxy

    Eddington limited starbursts in the central 10pc of AGN, and the Torus in NGC1068

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    We present results from a survey of nearby AGN using the near infrared adaptive optics integral field spectrograph SINFONI. These data enable us to probe the distribution and kinematics of the gas and stars at spatial resolutions as small as 0.085arcsec. We find strong evidence for recent but short lived starbursts residing in very dense nuclear disks. On scales of less than 10pc these would have reached Eddington-limited luminosities when active, perhaps accounting for their short duration. In addition, for NGC1068 at a resolution of 6pc, we present direct observations of molecular gas close around the AGN which we identify with the obscuring torus.Comment: Conference proceedings to appear in "The Central Engine of Active Galactic Nuclei", ed. L. C. Ho and J.-M. Wang (San Francisco: ASP

    Stellar and Molecular Gas Kinematics of NGC1097: Inflow Driven by a Nuclear Spiral

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    We present spatially resolved distributions and kinematics of the stars and molecular gas in the central 320pc of NGC1097. The stellar continuum confirms the previously reported 3-arm spiral pattern extending into the central 100pc. The stellar kinematics and the gas distribution imply this is a shadowing effect due to extinction by gas and dust in the molecular spiral arms. The molecular gas kinematics show a strong residual (i.e. non-circular) velocity, which is manifested as a 2-arm kinematic spiral. Linear models indicate that this is the line-of-sight velocity pattern expected for a density wave in gas that generates a 3-arm spiral morphology. We estimate the inflow rate along the arms. Using hydrodynamical models of nuclear spirals, we show that when deriving the accretion rate into the central region, outflow in the disk plane between the arms has to be taken into account. For NGC1097, despite the inflow rate along the arms being ~1.2Msun/yr, the net gas accretion rate to the central few tens of parsecs is much smaller. The numerical models indicate that the inflow rate could be as little as ~0.06Msun/yr. This is sufficient to generate recurring starbursts, similar in scale to that observed, every 20-150Myr. The nuclear spiral represents a mechanism that can feed gas into the central parsecs of the galaxy, with the gas flow sustainable for timescales of a Gigayear.Comment: accepted by Ap
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