ALMA resolves the remarkable molecular jet and rotating wind in the extremely radio-quiet galaxy NGC 1377 - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A Year : 2020

ALMA resolves the remarkable molecular jet and rotating wind in the extremely radio-quiet galaxy NGC 1377

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S. Aalto
  • Function : Author
N. Falstad
  • Function : Author
S. Muller
  • Function : Author
K. Wada
  • Function : Author
J. S. Gallagher
  • Function : Author
S. König
  • Function : Author
K. Sakamoto
  • Function : Author
W. Vlemmings
  • Function : Author
C. Ceccobello
  • Function : Author
K. Dasyra
  • Function : Author
S. García-Burillo
  • Function : Author
Y. Oya
  • Function : Author
S. Martín
  • Function : Author
P. van der Werf
  • Function : Author
A. S. Evans
  • Function : Author
J. Kotilainen
  • Function : Author


Submillimetre and millimetre line and continuum observations are important in probing the morphology, column density, and dynamics of the molecular gas and dust around obscured active galactic nuclei (AGNs) and their mechanical feedback. With very high-resolution (0.″02 × 0.″03 (2 × 3 pc)) ALMA 345 GHz observations of CO 3-2, HCO+ 4-3, vibrationally excited HCN 4-3 ν2 = 1f, and continuum we have studied the remarkable, extremely radio-quiet, molecular jet and wind of the lenticular galaxy NGC 1377. The outflow structure is resolved, revealing a 150 pc long, clumpy, high-velocity (∼600 km s-1), collimated molecular jet where the molecular emission is emerging from the spine of the jet with an average diameter of 3-7 pc. The jet widens to 10-15 pc about 25 pc from the centre, which is possibly due to jet-wind interactions. A narrow-angle (50°-70°), misaligned and rotating molecular wind surrounds the jet, and both are enveloped by a larger-scale CO-emitting structure at near-systemic velocity. The jet and narrow wind have steep radial gas excitation gradients and appear turbulent with high gas dispersion (σ > 40 km s-1). The jet shows velocity reversals that we propose are caused by precession, or more episodic directional changes. We discuss the mechanisms powering the outflow, and we find that an important process for the molecular jet and narrow wind is likely magneto-centrifugal driving. In contrast, the large-scale CO-envelope may be a slow wind, or cocoon that stems from jet-wind interactions. An asymmetric, nuclear r ∼ 2 pc dust structure with a high inferred molecular column density N(H2) ≃1.8 × 1024 cm-2 is detected in continuum and also shows compact emission from vibrationally excited HCN. The nuclear dust emission is hot (Td > 180 K) and its luminosity is likely powered by a buried AGN. The lopsided structure appears to be a warped disk, which is responsible for a significant part of the nuclear obscuration and possibly formed as a result of uneven gas inflows. The dynamical mass inside r = 1.4 pc is estimated to 9-3+2 × 106 M, implying that the supermassive black hole (SMBH) has a high mass with respect to the stellar velocity dispersion of NGC 1377. We suggest that the SMBH of NGC 1377 is currently in a state of moderate growth, at the end of a more intense phase of accretion and also evolving from a state of more extreme nuclear obscuration. The nuclear growth may be fuelled by low-angular momentum gas inflowing from the gas ejected in the molecular jet and wind. Such a feedback-loop of cyclic outflows and central accretion could explain why there is still a significant reservoir of molecular gas in this ageing, lenticular galaxy. A feedback-loop would be an effective process in growing the nuclear SMBH and thus would constitute an important phase in the evolution of NGC 1377. This also invites new questions as to SMBH growth processes in obscured, dusty galaxies.

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Dates and versions

insu-03718038 , version 1 (08-07-2022)



S. Aalto, N. Falstad, S. Muller, K. Wada, J. S. Gallagher, et al.. ALMA resolves the remarkable molecular jet and rotating wind in the extremely radio-quiet galaxy NGC 1377. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, 2020, 640, ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/202038282⟩. ⟨insu-03718038⟩
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