Letter to the Editor
Jet-disturbed molecular gas near the Seyfert 2 nucleus in M 51
Academia Sinica, Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, PO Box 23-141, Taipei 106, Taiwan, R.O.C. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 22 February 2007
Context.Previous molecular gas observations at arcsecond-scale resolution of the Seyfert 2 galaxy M 51 suggest the presence of a dense circumnuclear rotating disk, which may be the reservoir for fueling the active nucleus and obscures it from direct view in the optical. However, our recent interferometric CO(3-2) observations show a hint of a velocity gradient perpendicular to the rotating disk, which suggests a more complex structure than previously thought.
Aims.To image the putative circumnuclear molecular gas disk at sub-arcsecond resolution to better understand both the spatial distribution and kinematics of the molecular gas.
Methods.We carried out CO(2-1) and CO(1-0) line observations of the nuclear region of M 51 with the new A configuration of the IRAM Plateau de Bure Interferometer, yielding a spatial resolution lower than 15 pc.
Results.The high resolution images show no clear evidence of a disk, aligned nearly east-west and perpendicular to the radio jet axis, as suggested by previous observations, but show two separate features located on the eastern and western sides of the nucleus. The western feature shows an elongated structure along the jet and a good velocity correspondence with optical emission lines associated with the jet, suggesting that this feature is a jet-entrained gas. The eastern feature is elongated nearly east-west ending around the nucleus. A velocity gradient appears in the same direction with increasingly blueshifted velocities near the nucleus. This velocity gradient is in the opposite sense of that previously inferred for the putative circumnuclear disk. Possible explanations for the observed molecular gas distribution and kinematics are that a rotating gas disk disturbed by the jet, gas streaming toward the nucleus, or a ring with another smaller counter- or Keplarian-rotating gas disk inside.
Key words: galaxies: individual: M 51 / galaxies: individual: NGC 5194 / galaxies: ISM / galaxies: Seyfert
© ESO, 2007