The origin of the hot metal-poor gas in NGC 1291
Testing the hypothesis of gas dynamics as the cause of the gas heating
Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen, Postbus 800, Groningen 9700 AV, The Netherlands e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 RSAA, Mount Stromlo Observatory, Cotter road, Weston Creek, ACT 2611, Australia
Accepted: 11 April 2006
In this paper we test the idea that the low-metallicity hot gas in the centre of NGC 1291 is heated via a dynamical process. In this scenario, the gas from the outer gas-rich ring loses energy through bar-driven shocks and falls to the centre. Heating of the gas to X-ray temperatures comes from the high velocity that it reaches (≈700 km s-1) as it falls to the bottom of the potential well. This would explain why the stellar metallicity in the bulge region is around solar while the hot gas metallicity is around 0.1 solar. We carried out an observational test to check this hypothesis by measuring the metallicity of HII regions in the outer ring to check whether they matched the hot gas metallicity. For this purpose we obtained medium resolution long slit spectroscopy with FORS1 on the ESO VLT at Paranal and obtained the metallicities using emission line ratio diagnostics. The obtained metallicities are compatible with the bulge stellar metallicities but very different from the hot-gas metallicity. However, when comparing the different time-scales, the gas in the ring had time enough to get enriched through stellar processes, therefore we cannot rule out the dynamical mechanism as the heating process of the gas. However, the blue colours of the outer ring and the dust structures in the bar region could suggest that the origin of the X-ray hot gas is due to the infall of material from further out.
Key words: galaxies: ISM / galaxies: structure / galaxies: kinematics and dynamics / Galaxy: abundances / X-rays: galaxies
© ESO, 2006