The Core of NGC 6240 from Keck Adaptive Optics and HST NICMOS Observations

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We present results of near infrared imaging of the disk-galaxy-merger NGC 6240 using adaptive optics on the Keck II Telescope and reprocessed archival data from NICMOS on the Hubble Space Telescope. Both the North and South nuclei of NGC 6240 are clearly elongated, with considerable sub-structure within each nucleus. In K' band there are at least two point-sources within the North nucleus; we tentatively identify the south-western point-source within the North nucleus as the position of one of the two AGNs. Within the South nucleus, the northern subnucleus is more highly reddened. Based upon the nuclear separation measured at 5 ... continued below

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PDF-file: 52 pages; size: 3.1 Mbytes

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Max, C E; Canalizo, G; Macintosh, B A; Raschke, L; Whysong, D; Antonucci, R et al. November 19, 2004.

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We present results of near infrared imaging of the disk-galaxy-merger NGC 6240 using adaptive optics on the Keck II Telescope and reprocessed archival data from NICMOS on the Hubble Space Telescope. Both the North and South nuclei of NGC 6240 are clearly elongated, with considerable sub-structure within each nucleus. In K' band there are at least two point-sources within the North nucleus; we tentatively identify the south-western point-source within the North nucleus as the position of one of the two AGNs. Within the South nucleus, the northern subnucleus is more highly reddened. Based upon the nuclear separation measured at 5 GHz, we suggest that the AGN in the South nucleus is still enshrouded in dust at K' band, and is located slightly to the north of the brightest point in K' band. Within the South nucleus there is strong H{sub 2} 1-0 S(1) line emission from the northern sub-nucleus, contrary to the conclusions of previous seeing-limited observations. Narrowband H{sub 2} emission-line images show that a streamer or ribbon of excited molecular hydrogen connects the North and South nuclei. We suggest that this linear feature corresponds to a bridge of gas connecting the two nuclei, as seen in computer simulations of mergers. Many any point-like regions are seen around the two nuclei. These are most prominent at 1.1 microns with NICMOS, and in K'-band with Keck adaptive optics. We suggest that these point-sources represent young star clusters formed in the course of the merger.

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PDF-file: 52 pages; size: 3.1 Mbytes

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  • Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 621; Journal Issue: 2

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  • Report No.: UCRL-JRNL-208292
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 877836
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc878229

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  • November 19, 2004

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  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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  • Nov. 23, 2016, 11:41 a.m.

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Max, C E; Canalizo, G; Macintosh, B A; Raschke, L; Whysong, D; Antonucci, R et al. The Core of NGC 6240 from Keck Adaptive Optics and HST NICMOS Observations, article, November 19, 2004; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc878229/: accessed September 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.