A disc of shocked molecular hydrogen around the active nucleus of NGC 3079

J. Meaburn, B. R. Fernandez, A. J. Holloway, A. Pedlar, C. G. Mundell, T. R. Geballe

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A high-resolution image of the nuclear regions of the active galaxy NGC 3079 has been obtained in the H2 1-0 S(1) emission line (rest λ = 2.1218 μm) with the IRCAM3 camera on the 3.8-m UKIRT telescope. An ≈ 35 pc diameter elongated core within a more diffuse, 300 pc long, region of most likely shock-excited H2 is shown to surround the active nucleus and be embedded within what could be an extended region of enhanced star formation. A disc of molecular gas could be present that shapes the emission of relativistic gas away from the plane of the galaxy. This nuclear H2 1-0 S(1) emitting gas (of total mass ≈ 103 M) is within a central dip in the distribution of cool, CO emitting, molecular gas (of total mass ≈ 1010 M) which extends much further from the nucleus. The distributions of both the hot and the cool molecular gases are likely to be clumpy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L45-L49
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 1998


  • Galaxies: active
  • Galaxies: individual: NGC 3079
  • Galaxies: nuclei
  • Infrared: galaxies
  • ISM: molecules

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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