Astrophys. J., 852, 113-113 (2018/January-2)
An interacting galaxy pair at the origin of a light echo.
MERLUZZI P., BUSARELLO G., DOPITA M.A., THOMAS A.D., HAINES C.P., GRADO A., LIMATOLA L. and MERCURIO A.
Abstract (from CDS):
In a low-density region of the Shapley supercluster we identified an interacting galaxy pair at redshift z = 0.04865 in which the Seyfert 2 nucleus of the main galaxy (ShaSS 073) is exciting an extended emission line region (EELR, ∼170 kpc2) in the disk of the less massive companion (ShaSS 622). New integral-field spectroscopy and the multiband data set, spanning from far-ultraviolet to far-infrared and radio wavelengths, allowed us to obtain a detailed description of the ShaSS 622-073 system. The gas kinematics shows hints of interaction, although the overall velocity field shows a quite regular rotation in both galaxies, thus suggesting that we are observing their first encounter as confirmed by the estimated distance of 21 kpc between the two galaxy centers. The detected ∼2–3 kpc active galactic nucleus (AGN) outflow and the geometry of the EELR in ShaSS 622 support the presence of a hollow bicone structure. The status and sources of the ionization across the whole system have been analyzed through photoionization models and a Bayesian approach that prove a clear connection between the AGN and the EELR. The luminosity of the AGN (2.4×1044 erg s–1) is a factor of 20 lower than the power needed to excite the gas in the EELR (4.6 x 1045 erg s–1), indicating a dramatic fading of the AGN in the past 3 x 104 yr. ShaSS 073-622 provides all the ingredients listed in the recipe of a light echo where a highly-ionized region maintains memory of a preceding more energetic phase of a now-faded AGN. This is the first case of a light echo observed between two galaxies.
© 2018. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
galaxies: active - galaxies: evolution - galaxies: interactions - galaxies: Seyfert - ISM: abundances - ISM: kinematics and dynamics - ISM: kinematics and dynamics
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