Fueling the central engine of radio galaxies
1 Centro de Astrobiología, CSIC-INTA, Carretera de Ajalvir km. 4, 28850 Torrejón de Ardoz, Madrid, Spain
2 Observatorio Astronómico Nacional, Alfonso XII, 3, 28014 Madrid, Spain
3 Observatoire de Paris, LERMA, CNRS, UMR 8112, 61 Av. de l’Observatoire, 75014 Paris, France
4 European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2, 85748 Garching bei München, Germany
5 IRAM, 300 rue de la Piscine, Domaine Universitaire, 38406 Saint-Martin d’ Hères Cedex, France
6 Netherlands Foundation for Research in Astronomy, Postbus 2, 7990 AA Dwingeloo, The Netherlands
7 Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen, PO Box 800, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands
Received: 27 July 2012
Accepted: 30 October 2012
Context. There is growing observational evidence of active galactic nuclei (AGN) feedback on the interstellar medium (ISM) of radio-quiet and radio-loud galaxies. While AGN feedback is expected to be more common at high-redshift objects, studying local universe galaxies helps to better characterize the different manifestations of AGN feedback.
Aims. Molecular line observations can be used to quantify the mass and energy budget of the gas affected by AGN feedback. We study the emission of molecular gas in 3C 236, a Faranoff-Riley type 2 (FR II) radio source at z ~ 0.1, and search for the footprints of AGN feedback. The source 3C 236 shows signs of a reactivation of its AGN triggered by a recent minor merger episode. Observations have also previously identified an extreme H i outflow in this source.
Methods. The IRAM Plateau de Bure interferometer (PdBI) was used to study the distribution and kinematics of molecular gas in 3C 236 by imaging with high spatial resolution (0.6″) the emission of the 2–1 line of 12CO in the nucleus of the galaxy. We searched for outflow signatures in the CO map. We also derived the star-formation rate (SFR) in 3C 236 using data available from the literature at UV, optical, and IR wavelengths, to determine the star-formation efficiency (SFE) of molecular gas.
Results. The CO emission in 3C 236 comes from a spatially resolved ~1.4″(2.6 kpc-) diameter disk characterized by a regular rotating pattern. Within the limits imposed by the sensitivity and velocity coverage of the CO data, we do not detect any outflow signatures in the cold molecular gas. The disk has a cold gas mass M(H2) ~ 2.1 × 109 M⊙. Based on CO we determine a new value for the redshift of the source zCO = 0.09927 ± 0.0002. The similarity between the CO and H i profiles indicates that the deep H i absorption in 3C 236 can be accounted for by a rotating H i structure. This restricts the evidence of H i outflow to only the most extreme velocities. In the light of the new redshift value, the analysis of the ionized gas kinematics reveals a fast (~1000 km s-1) outflow. Outflow signatures in the CO emitting gas, are nevertheless absent in the warm molecular gas emission traced by infrared H2 lines. The SFE in 3C 236 is consistent with the value measured in normal galaxies, which follow the canonical Kennicutt-Schmidt (KS) relation. This result, confirmed to hold in other young radio sources examined in this work, is in stark contrast with the SFE that is lower by a factor 10–50 that has been claimed to characterize evolved powerful radio galaxies.
Conclusions. There are no signs of ongoing AGN feedback to the molecular ISM of 3C 236. The recent reactivation of the AGN in 3C 236 (about 105 yr ago) is a likely explanation for the early evolutionary status of its molecular disk.
Key words: galaxies: individual: 3C 236 / galaxies: ISM / galaxies: kinematics and dynamics / ISM: jets and outflows / galaxies: active
Based on observations carried out with the IRAM Plateau de Bure Interferometer. IRAM is supported by INSU/CNRS (France), MPG (Germany) and IGN (Spain).
The datacube (in FITS format) is only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (220.127.116.11) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/549/A58
© ESO, 2012