SINFONI adaptive optics integral field spectroscopy of the Circinus Galaxy
Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, Giessenbachstrasse, Postfach 1312, 85741 Garching, Germany e-mail: email@example.com
2 Department of Physics, 366 Le Conte Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA, 94720-7300, USA
3 School of Physics and Astronomy, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel
Accepted: 12 April 2006
Aims.We investigate the star formation activity and the gas and stellar dynamics on scales of a few parsecs in the nucleus of the Circinus Galaxy.
Methods.Using the adaptive optics near infrared integral field spectrometer SINFONI on the VLT, we have obtained observations of the Circinus galaxy on scales of a few parsecs and at a spectral resolution of 70 km s-1 FWHM. The physical properties of the nucleus are analyzed by means of line and velocity maps extracted from the SINFONI datacube. Starburst models are constrained using the Brγ flux, stellar continuum (as traced via the CO absorption bandheads longward of 2.3 μm), and radio continuum.
Results.The similarity of the morphologies of the H2 1-0 S(1) 2.12 μm and Brγ 2.17 μm lines to the stellar continuum and also their kinematics, suggest a common origin in star formation. Within 8 pc of the AGN we find there has been a recent starburst in the last 100 Myr, which currently accounts for 1.4% of the galaxy's bolometric luminosity. The similarity of the spatial scales over which the stars and gas exist indicates that this star formation is occuring within the torus; and comparison of the gas column density through the torus to the maximum possible optical depth to the stars implies the torus is a clumpy medium. The coronal lines show asymmetric profiles with a spatially compact narrow component and a spatially extended blue wing. These characteristics are consistent with some of the emission arising in clouds gravitationally bound to the AGN, and some outflowing in cloudlets which have been eroded away from the bound clouds.
Key words: galaxies: active / galaxies: individual: Circinus / galaxies: nuclei / galaxies: Seyfert / galaxies: starburst / infrared: galaxies
© ESO, 2006