Volume 628, August 2019
|Number of page(s)||10|
|Published online||20 August 2019|
Neutral hydrogen gas within and around NGC 1316
INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Cagliari, Via della Scienza 5, 09047 Selargius, CA, Italy
2 Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON), Oude Hoogeveensedijk 4, 7991 PD Dwingeloo, The Netherlands
3 Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen, PO Box 800, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands
4 Department of Astronomy, University of Cape Town, Private Bag X3, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa
5 Department of Astronomy, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA
6 South African Radio Astronomy Oberservatory, Black River Park, 2 Fir Street, Observatory, Cape Town, 7925, South Africa
7 Department of Physics and Electronics, Rhodes University, PO Box 94, Makhanda 6140, South Africa
8 INAF – Astronomical Observatory of Capodimonte, Salita Moiariello 16, 80131 Naples, Italy
9 Argelander-Institut für Astronomie, Auf dem Hügel 71, 53121 Bonn, Germany
10 Astronomisches Institut, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universitätsstrasse 150, 44801 Bochum, Germany
11 Dipartimento di Fisica, Università di Cagliari, Cittadella Universitaria, 09042 Monserrato, Italy
12 School of Physics and Astronomy, Cardiff University, Queens Buildings, The Parade, Cardiff CF24 3AA, UK
13 Astronomy Research Unit, University of Oulu, 90014 Oulu, Finland
Accepted: 15 July 2019
We present MeerKAT observations of neutral hydrogen gas (H I) in the nearby merger remnant NGC 1316 (Fornax A), the brightest member of a galaxy group which is falling into the Fornax cluster. We find H I on a variety of scales, from the galaxy centre to its large-scale environment. For the first time we detect H I at large radii (70–150 kpc in projection), mostly distributed on two long tails associated with the galaxy. Gas in the tails dominates the H I mass of NGC 1316: 7 × 108 M⊙– 14 times more than in previous observations. The total H I mass is comparable to the amount of neutral gas found inside the stellar body, mostly in molecular form. The H I tails are associated with faint optical tidal features thought to be the remnant of a galaxy merger occurred a few billion years ago. They demonstrate that the merger was gas-rich. During the merger, tidal forces pulled some gas and stars out to large radii, where we now detect them in the form of optical tails and, thanks to our new data, H I tails; while torques caused the remaining gas to flow towards the centre of the remnant, where it was converted into molecular gas and fuelled the starburst revealed by the galaxy’s stellar populations. Several of the observed properties of NGC 1316 can be reproduced by a ∼10:1 merger between a dominant, gas-poor early-type galaxy and a smaller, gas-rich spiral occurred 1–3 Gyr ago, likely followed by subsequent accretion of satellite galaxies.
Key words: galaxies: interactions / galaxies: ISM / galaxies: individual: NGC 1316
© ESO 2019
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