Astrophys. J., 653, L13-L16 (2006/December-2)
Mid-infrared diagnostics of LINERS.
STURM E., RUPKE D., CONTURSI A., KIM D.-C., LUTZ D., NETZER H., VEILLEUX S., GENZEL R., LEHNERT M., TACCONI L.J., MAOZ D., MAZZARELLA J., LORD S., SANDERS D. and STERNBERG A.
Abstract (from CDS):
We report results from the first mid-infrared spectroscopic study of a comprehensive sample of 33 LINERs, observed with the Spitzer Space Telescope. We compare the properties of two different LINER populations: infrared-faint LINERs, with LINER emission arising mostly in compact nuclear regions, and infrared-luminous LINERs, which often show spatially extended (non-AGN) LINER emission. We show that these two populations can be easily distinguished by their mid-infrared spectra in three different ways: (1) their mid-IR spectral energy distributions (SEDs), (2) the emission features of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and (3) various combinations of IR fine-structure line ratios. IR-luminous LINERs show mid-IR SEDs typical of starburst galaxies, while the mid-IR SEDs of IR-faint LINERs are much bluer. PAH flux ratios are significantly different in the two groups. Fine-structure emission lines from highly excited gas, such as [O IV], are detected in both populations, suggesting the presence of an additional AGN in a large fraction of IR-bright LINERs as well, which contributes little to the combined mid-IR light. The two LINER groups occupy different regions of mid-infrared emission-line excitation diagrams. The positions of the various LINER types in our diagnostic diagrams provide important clues regarding the power source of each LINER type. Most of these mid-infrared diagnostics can be applied at low spectral resolution, making AGN- and starburst-excited LINERs distinguishable at high redshifts as well.
Galaxies: Active - Infrared: Galaxies
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