Abstract

We used the near infrared spectrometer ISAAC at the ESO 'Very Large Telescope' to map the velocity field of Centaurus A (NGC 5128) at several position angles and locations in the central 20" of the galaxy. The high spatial resolution (~0.5") velocity fields from both ionized and molecular gas (PaBeta, [FeII], BrGamma, and H2) are not compromised by either excitation effects or obscuration. We identify three distinct kinematical systems: (i) a rotating 'nuclear disk' of ionized gas, confined to the inner 2", the counterpart of the PaAlpha feature previously revealed by HST/NICMOS imaging; (ii) a ring-like system with a ~6" inner radius detected only in H2, likely the counterpart of the 100pc-scale structure detected in CO by other authors; (iii) a normal extended component of gas rotating in the galactic potential. The nuclear disk is in keplerian rotation around a central mass concentration, dark (M/L>20 Msun/LsunK) and point-like at the spatial resolution of the data (R<0.25" ~4pc). We interpret this mass concentration as a supermassive black hole. Its dynamical mass based on the line velocities and disk inclination (i>15deg) is M=2(+3.0;-1.4) 10^8 Msun. The ring-like system is probably characterized by non-circular motions; a 'figure-of-8' pattern observed in the H2 position-velocity diagram might provide kinematical evidence for the presence of a nuclear bar. (Refer to PDF file for exact formulas).

Publication Date

3-10-2001

Comments

Also archived in: arXiv:astro-ph/0011059 v1 2 Nov 2000 A.M. acknowledge the partial support of the Italian Space Agency (ASI) through the grant ARS–99–44 and of the Italian Ministry for University and Research (MURST) under grant Cofin98-02-32. A.M., A.C. and DJA acknowledge support from the STScI Visitor Program.ISSN:1538-4357 Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in February 2014.

Document Type

Article

Department, Program, or Center

School of Physics and Astronomy (COS)

Campus

RIT – Main Campus

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