Astrophys. J., 771, L41 (2013/July-2)
Discovery of nuclear water maser emission in Centaurus A.
OTT J., MEIER D.S., McCOY M., PECK A., IMPELLIZZERI V., BRUNTHALER A., WALTER F., EDWARDS P.G., ANDERSON C.N., HENKEL C., FEAIN I. and MAO M.Y.
Abstract (from CDS):
We report the detection of a 22 GHz water maser line in the nearest (D ∼ 3.8 Mpc) radio galaxy Centaurus A (Cen A) using the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA). The line is centered at a velocity of ∼960 km/s, which is redshifted by about 415 km/s from the systemic velocity. Such an offset, as well as the width of ∼120 km/s, could be consistent with either a nuclear maser arising from an accretion disk of the central supermassive black hole (SMBH), or with a jet maser that is emitted from the material that is shocked near the base of the jet in Cen A. The best spatial resolution of our ATCA data constrains the origin of the maser feature within <3 pc of the SMBH. The maser exhibits an isotropic luminosity of ∼1 L☉, which classifies it as a kilomaser, and appears to be variable on timescales of months. A kilomaser can also be emitted by shocked gas in star-forming regions. Given the small projected distance from the core, the large offset from systemic velocity, and the smoothness of the line feature, we conclude that a jet maser line emitted by shocked gas around the base of the active galactic nucleus is the most likely explanation. For this scenario we can infer a minimum density of the radio jet of ≳ 10/cm3, which indicates substantial mass entrainment of surrounding gas into the propagating jet material.
galaxies: individual: (Centaurus A, NGC 5128) - ISM: jets and outflows - masers
View the reference in ADS
To bookmark this query, right click on this link: simbad:2013ApJ...771L..41O and select 'bookmark this link' or equivalent in the popup menu