Volume 476, Number 1, December II 2007
|Page(s)||177 - 192|
|Published online||02 October 2007|
HNC, HCN and CN in Seyfert galaxies*
Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Onsala Rymdobservatorium, Chalmers Tekniska Högskola, 439 92 Onsala, Sweden e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 27 September 2007
Aims.Bright HNC 1-0 emission, rivalling that of HCN 1-0, has been found towards several Seyfert galaxies. This is unexpected since traditionally HNC is a tracer of cold (10 K) gas, and the molecular gas of luminous galaxies like Seyferts is thought to have bulk kinetic temperatures surpassing 50 K. There are four possible explanations for the bright HNC: (a) large masses of hidden cold gas; (b) chemistry dominated by ion-neutral reactions; (c) chemistry dominated by X-ray radiation; and (d) HNC enhanced through mid-IR pumping. In this work, we distinguish the cause of the bright HNC and to model the physical conditions of the HNC and HCN emitting gas.
Methods.We have used SEST, JCMT and IRAM 30 m telescopes to observe HNC 3-2 and HCN 3–2 line emission in a selection of 5 HNC-luminous Seyfert galaxies. We estimate and discuss the excitation conditions of HCN and HNC in NGC 1068, NGC 3079, NGC 2623 and NGC 7469, based on the observed 3–2/1–0 line intensity ratios. We also observed CN 1-0 and 2–1 emission and discuss its role in photon and X-ray dominated regions.
Results.HNC 3-2 was detected in 3 galaxies (NGC 3079, NGC 1068 and NGC 2623). Not detected in NGC 7469. HCN 3–2 was detected in NGC 3079, NGC 1068 and NGC 1365, it was not detected in NGC 2623. The HCN 3–2/1–0 ratio is lower than 0.3 only in NGC 3079, whereas the HNC 3-2/1–0 ratio is larger than 0.3 only in NGC 2623. The HCN/HNC 1-0 and 3–2 line ratios are larger than unity in all the galaxies. The HCN/HNC 3-2 line ratio is lower than unity only in NGC 2623, which makes it comparable to galaxies like Arp 220, Mrk 231 and NGC 4418.
Conclusions.We conclude that in three of the galaxies the HNC emissions emerge from gas of densities n 105 cm-3, where the chemistry is dominated by ion-neutral reactions. The line shapes observed in NGC 1365 and NGC 3079 show that these galaxies have no circumnuclear disk. In NGC 1068 the emission of HNC emerges from lower (<105 cm-3) density gas than HCN (>105 cm-3). Instead, we conclude that the emissions of HNC and HCN emerge from the same gas in NGC 3079. The observed HCN/HNC and CN/HCN line ratios favor a PDR scenario, rather than an XDR one, which is consistent with previous indications of a starburst component in the central regions of these galaxies. However, the N(HNC)/N(HCN) column density ratios obtained for NGC 3079 can be found only in XDR environments.
Key words: galaxies: ISM / galaxies: starburst / galaxies: active / galaxies: Seyfert / radio lines: galaxies / radio lines: ISM
© ESO, 2007
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