Disentangling the Circumnuclear Environs of Centaurus A: III. An Inner Molecular Ring, Nuclear Shocks and the CO to warm H2 interface

19 Jun 2017  ·  Espada D., Matsushita S., Miura R. E., Israel F. P., Neumayer N., Martin S., Henkel C., Izumi T., Iono D., Aalto S., Ott J., Peck A. B., Quillen A. C., Kohno K. ·

We present the distribution and kinematics of the molecular gas in the circumnuclear disk (CND, 400 pc x 200 pc) of Centaurus A with resolutions of ~5 pc (0.3 arcsec) and shed light onto the mechanism feeding the Active Galactic Nucleus (AGN) using CO(3-2), HCO+(4-3), HCN(4-3), and CO(6-5) observations obtained with ALMA. Multiple filaments or streamers of tens to a hundred parsec scale exist within the CND, which form a ring-like structure with an unprojected diameter of 9 x 6 arcsec (162pc x 108pc) and a position angle PA = 155deg... Inside the nuclear ring, there are two leading and straight filamentary structures with lengths of about 30-60pc at PA = 120deg on opposite sides of the AGN, with a rotational symmetry of 180deg and steeper position-velocity diagrams, which are interpreted as nuclear shocks due to non-circular motions. Along the filaments, and unlike other nearby AGNs, several dense molecular clumps present low HCN/HCO+(4-3) ratios (~0.5). The filaments abruptly end in the probed transitions at r = 20pc from the AGN, but previous near-IR H2 (J=1-0) S(1) maps show that they continue in an even ~1000 K), winding up in the form of nuclear spirals, and forming an inner ring structure with another set of symmetric filaments along the N-S direction and within r = 10pc. The molecular gas is governed primarily by non-circular motions, being the successive shock fronts at different scales where loss of angular momentum occurs, a mechanism which may feed efficiently powerful radio galaxies down to parsec scales. read more

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Astrophysics of Galaxies