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Nuclear 11.3 m PAH emission in local active galactic nuclei

Nuclear 11.3 m PAH emission in local active galactic nuclei
Nuclear 11.3 m PAH emission in local active galactic nuclei
We present Gran Telescopio CANARIAS CanariCam 8.7 µm imaging and 7.5–13 µm spectroscopy of six local systems known to host an active galactic nucleus (AGN) and have nuclear star formation. Our main goal is to investigate whether the molecules responsible for the 11.3 µm polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) feature are destroyed in the close vicinity of an AGN. We detect 11.3 µm PAH feature emission in the nuclear regions of the galaxies as well as extended PAH emission over a few hundred parsecs. The equivalent width (EW) of the feature shows a minimum at the nucleus but increases with increasing radial distances, reaching typical star-forming values a few hundred parsecs away from the nucleus. The reduced nuclear EWs are interpreted as due to increased dilution from the AGN continuum rather than destruction of the PAH molecules. We conclude that at least those molecules responsible for the 11.3 µm PAH feature survive in the nuclear environments as close as 10 pc from the AGN and for Seyfert-like AGN luminosities. We propose that material in the dusty tori, nuclear gas discs, and/or host galaxies of AGN is likely to provide the column densities necessary to protect the PAH molecules from the AGN radiation field.
0035-8711
2766-2782
Alonso-Herrero, A.
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Ramos Almeida, C.
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Esquej, P.
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Roche, P.F.
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Hernan-Caballero, A.
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Hoenig, S.F.
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Gonzalez-Martin, O.
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Aretxaga, I.
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Mason, R.E.
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Packham, C.
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Levenson, N.A.
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Rodriguez Espinosa, J.M.
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Siebenmorgen, R.
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Pereira-Santaella, M.
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Diaz-Santos, T.
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Colina, L.
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Alvarez, C.
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Telesco, C.M.
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Alonso-Herrero, A.
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Ramos Almeida, C.
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Esquej, P.
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Roche, P.F.
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Hernan-Caballero, A.
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Hoenig, S.F.
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Gonzalez-Martin, O.
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Aretxaga, I.
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Mason, R.E.
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Packham, C.
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Levenson, N.A.
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Rodriguez Espinosa, J.M.
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Siebenmorgen, R.
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Pereira-Santaella, M.
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Diaz-Santos, T.
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Colina, L.
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Alvarez, C.
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Telesco, C.M.
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Alonso-Herrero, A., Ramos Almeida, C., Esquej, P., Roche, P.F., Hernan-Caballero, A., Hoenig, S.F., Gonzalez-Martin, O., Aretxaga, I., Mason, R.E., Packham, C., Levenson, N.A., Rodriguez Espinosa, J.M., Siebenmorgen, R., Pereira-Santaella, M., Diaz-Santos, T., Colina, L., Alvarez, C. and Telesco, C.M. (2014) Nuclear 11.3 m PAH emission in local active galactic nuclei. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 443 (3), 2766-2782. (doi:10.1093/mnras/stu1293).

Record type: Article

Abstract

We present Gran Telescopio CANARIAS CanariCam 8.7 µm imaging and 7.5–13 µm spectroscopy of six local systems known to host an active galactic nucleus (AGN) and have nuclear star formation. Our main goal is to investigate whether the molecules responsible for the 11.3 µm polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) feature are destroyed in the close vicinity of an AGN. We detect 11.3 µm PAH feature emission in the nuclear regions of the galaxies as well as extended PAH emission over a few hundred parsecs. The equivalent width (EW) of the feature shows a minimum at the nucleus but increases with increasing radial distances, reaching typical star-forming values a few hundred parsecs away from the nucleus. The reduced nuclear EWs are interpreted as due to increased dilution from the AGN continuum rather than destruction of the PAH molecules. We conclude that at least those molecules responsible for the 11.3 µm PAH feature survive in the nuclear environments as close as 10 pc from the AGN and for Seyfert-like AGN luminosities. We propose that material in the dusty tori, nuclear gas discs, and/or host galaxies of AGN is likely to provide the column densities necessary to protect the PAH molecules from the AGN radiation field.

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Accepted/In Press date: 24 June 2014
e-pub ahead of print date: 5 August 2014
Published date: 21 September 2014
Organisations: Astronomy Group

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 402389
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/402389
ISSN: 0035-8711
PURE UUID: 12dc5643-2615-4484-a3ad-1138a68988c9

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Date deposited: 08 Nov 2016 11:31
Last modified: 25 Nov 2021 17:13

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Contributors

Author: A. Alonso-Herrero
Author: C. Ramos Almeida
Author: P. Esquej
Author: P.F. Roche
Author: A. Hernan-Caballero
Author: S.F. Hoenig
Author: O. Gonzalez-Martin
Author: I. Aretxaga
Author: R.E. Mason
Author: C. Packham
Author: N.A. Levenson
Author: J.M. Rodriguez Espinosa
Author: R. Siebenmorgen
Author: M. Pereira-Santaella
Author: T. Diaz-Santos
Author: L. Colina
Author: C. Alvarez
Author: C.M. Telesco

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