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Disentangling the Circumnuclear Environs of Centaurus A. II. On the Nature of the Broad Absorption Line

D. Espada ; A. B. Peck ; S. Matsushita ; K. Sakamoto ; C. Henkel ; D. Iono ; F. Israel ; Sebastien Muller (Institutionen för rymd- och geovetenskap, Onsala rymdobservatorium) ; G. Petitpas ; Y. Pihlstrom ; G. Taylor ; D.-V. Trung
Astrophysical Journal Letters (2041-8205). Vol. 720 (2010), 1, p. 666-678.
[Artikel, refereegranskad vetenskaplig]

We report on atomic gas (H I) and molecular gas (as traced by CO(2-1)) redshifted absorption features toward the nuclear regions of the closest powerful radio galaxy, Centaurus A (NGC 5128). Our H I observations using the Very Long Baseline Array allow us to discern with unprecedented sub-parsec resolution H I absorption profiles toward different positions along the 21 cm continuum jet in the inner 0farcs3 (or 5.4 pc). In addition, our CO(2-1) data obtained with the Submillimeter Array probe the bulk of the absorbing molecular gas with little contamination by emission, which was not possible with previous CO single-dish observations. We shed light on the physical properties of the gas in the line of sight with these data, emphasizing the still open debate about the nature of the gas that produces the broad absorption line (~55 km s–1). First, the broad H I line is more prominent toward the central and brightest 21 cm continuum component than toward a region along the jet at a distance ~20 mas (or 0.4 pc) further from the nucleus. This indicates that the broad absorption line arises from gas located close to the nucleus, rather than from diffuse and more distant gas. Second, the different velocity components detected in the CO(2-1) absorption spectrum match well with other molecular lines, such as those of HCO+(1-0), except the broad absorption line that is detected in HCO+(1-0) (and most likely related to that of the H I). Dissociation of molecular hydrogen due to the active galactic nucleus seems to be efficient at distances r lsim 10 pc, which might contribute to the depth of the broad H I and molecular lines.

Nyckelord: galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD; galaxies: individual (NGC 5128); galaxies: ISM; galaxies: structure; quasars: absorption lines

Denna post skapades 2010-08-16. Senast ändrad 2015-07-01.
CPL Pubid: 124536


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Institutionen för rymd- och geovetenskap, Onsala rymdobservatorium


Extragalaktisk astronomi

Chalmers infrastruktur