Discovery of a nuclear gas bar feeding the active nucleus in Circinus

R. Maiolino, A. Alonso-Herrero, S. Anders, A. Quillen, M. J. Rieke, G. H. Rieke, L. E. Tacconi-Garman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Scopus citations

Abstract

We report the discovery of gas inflow motions toward the active nucleus of the Circinus galaxy caused by the nonaxisymmetric 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 H2 S(1) (1-0) emission line. The gas bar is about 100 pc long with a visual extinction in excess of 10 mag. 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, [Si VI], and [Fe II]) 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-231
Number of pages13
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume531
Issue number1 PART 1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2000

Keywords

  • Galaxies: active
  • Galaxies: individual (Circinus)
  • Galaxies: kinematics and dynamics
  • Galaxies: nuclei
  • Galaxies: seyfert
  • Infrared: galaxies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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    Maiolino, R., Alonso-Herrero, A., Anders, S., Quillen, A., Rieke, M. J., Rieke, G. H., & Tacconi-Garman, L. E. (2000). Discovery of a nuclear gas bar feeding the active nucleus in Circinus. Astrophysical Journal, 531(1 PART 1), 219-231. https://doi.org/10.1086/308444