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Very large array detection of radio recombination lines from the radio nucleus of NGC 253: Ionization by a weak active galactic nucleus, an obscured super star cluster, or a compact supernova remnant?

Mohan, Niruj R and Anantharamaiah, KR and Goss, WM (2002) Very large array detection of radio recombination lines from the radio nucleus of NGC 253: Ionization by a weak active galactic nucleus, an obscured super star cluster, or a compact supernova remnant? In: Astrophysical Journal, The, 574 (2). pp. 701-708.

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Official URL: http://iopscience.iop.org/0004-637X/574/2/701

Abstract

We have imaged the H92alpha and H75alpha radio recombination line (RRL) emissions from the starburst galaxy NGC 253 with a resolution of similar to4 pc. The peak of the RRL emission at both frequencies coincides with the unresolved radio nucleus. Both lines observed toward the nucleus are extremely wide, with FWHMs of similar to200 km s(-1). Modeling the RRL and radio continuum data for the radio nucleus shows that the lines arise in gas whose density is similar to10(4) cm(-3) and mass is a few thousand M., which requires an ionizing flux of (6-20) x 10(51) photons s(-1). We consider a supernova remnant (SNR) expanding in a dense medium, a star cluster, and also an active galactic nucleus (AGN) as potential ionizing sources. Based on dynamical arguments, we rule out an SNR as a viable ionizing source. A star cluster model is considered, and the dynamics of the ionized gas in a stellar-wind driven structure are investigated. Such a model is only consistent with the properties of the ionized gas for a cluster younger than similar to10(5) yr. The existence of such a young cluster at the nucleus seems improbable. The third model assumes the ionizing source to be an AGN at the nucleus. In this model, it is shown that the observed X-ray flux is too weak to account for the required ionizing photon flux. However, the ionization requirement can be explained if the accretion disk is assumed to have a big blue bump in its spectrum. Hence, we favor an AGN at the nucleus as the source responsible for ionizing the observed RRLs. A hybrid model consisting of an inner advection-dominated accretion flow disk and an outer thin disk is suggested, which could explain the radio, UV, and X-ray luminosities of the nucleus.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to University of Chicago Press.
Keywords: galaxies;individual(NGC 253);galaxies;ISM;galaxies;nuclei; galaxies;starburst;radio lines;galaxies
Department/Centre: Division of Physical & Mathematical Sciences > Joint Astronomy Programme
Date Deposited: 02 Aug 2011 08:08
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2011 08:08
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ernet.in/id/eprint/39655

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