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Kinematic Analysis of Nuclear Spirals: Feeding the Black Hole in NGC 1097
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Astronomy. Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, The Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmo Particle Physics (OKC).
2010 (English)In: Astrophysical Journal, ISSN 0004-637X, E-ISSN 1538-4357, Vol. 723, no 1, 767-780 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We present a harmonic expansion of the observed line-of-sight velocity field as a method to recover and investigate spiral structures in the nuclear regions of galaxies. We apply it to the emission-line velocity field within the circumnuclear star-forming ring of NGC 1097, obtained with the GMOS-IFU spectrograph. The radial variation of the third harmonic terms is well described by a logarithmic spiral, from which we interpret that the gravitational potential is weakly perturbed by a two-arm spiral density wave with an inferred pitch angle of 52° ± 4°. This interpretation predicts a two-arm spiral distortion in the surface brightness, as hinted by the dust structures in central images of NGC 1097, and predicts a combined one-arm and three-arm spiral structure in the velocity field, as revealed in the non-circular motions of the ionized gas. Next, we use a simple spiral perturbation model to constrain the fraction of the measured non-circular motions that is due to radial inflow. We combine the resulting inflow velocity with the gas density in the spiral arms, inferred from emission-line ratios, to estimate the mass inflow rate as a function of radius, which reaches about 0.011 M  yr–1 at a distance of 70 pc from the center. This value corresponds to a fraction of about 4.2 × 10–3 of the Eddington mass accretion rate onto the central black hole in this LINER/Seyfert1 galaxy. We conclude that the line-of-sight velocity can not only provide a cleaner view of nuclear spirals than the associated dust, but that the presented method also allows the quantitative study of these possibly important links in fueling the centers of galaxies, including providing a constraint on the mass inflow rate as a function of radius.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 723, no 1, 767-780 p.
Keyword [en]
galaxies: active, galaxies: individual (NGC 1097), galaxies: kinematics and dynamics, galaxies: nuclei, galaxies: structure
National Category
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-47356DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/723/1/767ISI: 000284090100066OAI: diva2:373743
Available from: 2010-12-01 Created: 2010-12-01 Last updated: 2011-12-06Bibliographically approved

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