Volume 586, February 2016
|Number of page(s)||10|
|Published online||25 January 2016|
The HST view of the innermost narrow line region
Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia, Università di
Firenze, via G. Sansone
1, 50019 Sesto
Fiorentino ( Firenze), Italy
2 INAF–Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo Enrico Fermi 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy
3 INAF–Osservatorio Astrofisico di Torino, via Osservatorio 20, 10025 Pino Torinese, Italy
4 Department of Physics, Technion, 3200 Haifa, Israel
5 Department of Physics and Astronomy, The University, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK
Received: 10 July 2015
Accepted: 25 November 2015
We analyze the properties of the innermost narrow line region in a sample of low-luminosity AGN. We select 33 LINERs (bona fide AGN) and Seyfert galaxies from the optical spectroscopic Palomar survey observed by HST/STIS. We find that in LINERs the [ N II ] and [ O I ] lines are broader than the [ S II ] line and that the [ N II ] /[ S II ] flux ratio increases when moving from ground-based to HST spectra. This effect is more pronounced considering the wings of the lines. Our interpretation is that, as a result of superior HST spatial resolution, we isolate a compact region of dense ionized gas in LINERs, located at a typical distance of ~3 pc and with a gas density of ~104–105 cm-3, which we identify with the outer portion of the intermediate line region (ILR). Instead, we do not observe these kinds of effects in Seyferts; this may be the result of a stronger dilution from the NLR emission, since the HST slit maps a larger region in these sources. Alternatively, we argue that the innermost, higher density component of the ILR is only present in Seyferts, while it is truncated at larger radii because of the presence of the circumnuclear torus. The ILR is only visible in its entirety in LINERs because the obscuring torus is not present in these sources.
Key words: galaxies: active / galaxies: nuclei / galaxies: Seyfert
© ESO, 2016
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