Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 513, A11-11 (2010/4-1)
Star-formation in the central kpc of the starburst/LINER galaxy NGC 1614.
OLSSON E., AALTO S., THOMASSON M. and BESWICK R.
Abstract (from CDS):
The aim is to investigate the star-formation and LINER (low ionization nuclear emission line region) activity within the central kiloparsec of the galaxy NGC1614. In this paper the radio continuum morphology, which provides a tracer of both nuclear and star-formation activity, and the distribution and dynamics of the cold molecular and atomic gas feeding this activity, are studied. In particular, the nature of an R≃300pc nuclear ring of star-formation and its relationship to the LINER activity in NGC1614 is addressed. A high angular resolution, multi-wavelength study of the LINER galaxy NGC1614 has been performed. Deep observations of the CO 1-0 spectral line were performed using the Owens Valley Radio Observatory (OVRO). These data have been complemented by extensive multi-frequency radio continuum and HI absorption observations using the Very Large Array (VLA) and Multi-Element Radio Linked Interferometer Network (MERLIN). Toward the center of NGC1614, we have detected a ring of radio continuum emission with a radius of 300pc. This ring is coincident with previous radio and Paα observations. The dynamical mass of the ring based on HI absorption is 3.1x109M☉. The peak of the integrated CO 1-0 emission is shifted by 1'' to the north-west of the ring center. An upper limit to the molecular gas mass in the ring region is ∼1.7x109M☉. Inside the ring, there is a north to south elongated 1.4GHz radio continuum feature, with a nuclear peak. This peak is also seen in the 5 GHz radio continuum and in the CO. We suggest that the R=300pc star forming ring represents the radius of a dynamical resonance - as an alternative to the scenario that the starburst is propagating outwards from the center into a molecular ring. The ring-like appearance is probably part of a spiral structure. Substantial amounts of molecular gas have passed the radius of the ring and reached the nuclear region. The nuclear peak seen in 5GHz radio continuum and CO is likely related to previous star formation, where all molecular gas was not consumed. The LINER-like optical spectrum observed in NGC 1614 may be due to nuclear starburst activity, and not to an active galactic nucleus (AGN). Although the presence of an AGN cannot be excluded.