Volume 540, April 2012
|Number of page(s)||7|
|Published online||28 March 2012|
Evidence of nuclear disks in starburst galaxies from their radial distribution of supernovae⋆
Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía – CSIC,
PO Box 3004,
Accepted: 12 March 2012
Galaxy–galaxy interactions are expected to be responsible for triggering massive star formation and possibly accretion onto a supermassive black hole, by providing large amounts of dense molecular gas down to the central kiloparsec region. Several scenarios to drive the gas further down to the central ~100 pc, have been proposed, including the formation of a nuclear disk around the black hole, where massive stars would produce supernovae. Here, we probe the radial distribution of supernovae and supernova remnants in the nuclear regions of the starburst galaxies M 82, Arp 299-A, and Arp 220, by using high-angular resolution (≲ 0.′′1) radio observations published in the literature (for M 82 and Arp 220), or obtained by ourselves from the European VLBI Network (Arp 299-A). Our main goal was to characterize the nuclear starbursts in those galaxies and thus test scenarios that propose that nuclear disks of sizes ~100 pc form in the central regions of starburst galaxies. We obtained the radial distribution of supernovae (SNe) in the nuclear starbursts of M 82, Arp 299-A, and Arp 220, and derived scale-length values for the putative nuclear disks powering the bursts in those central regions. The scale lengths for the (exponential) disks range from ~20–30 pc for Arp 299-A and Arp 220, up to ~140 pc for M 82. The radial distribution of SNe for the nuclear disks in Arp 299-A and Arp 220 is also consistent with a power-law surface density profile of exponent γ = 1, as expected from detailed hydrodynamical simulations of nuclear disks. Our results support scenarios where a nuclear disk of size ~100 pc is formed in (U)LIRGs, and sustained by gas pressure, in which case the accretion onto the black hole could be lowered by supernova feedback.
Key words: galaxies: starburst / galaxies: luminosity function, mass function / galaxies: individual: Arp 299-A / supernovae: general / radiation mechanisms: non-thermal / radio continuum: stars
Appendices are available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.org
© ESO, 2012
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