We present the results from a detailed kinematic analysis of both ground-based, and Hubble Space Telescope/Faint Object Camera long-slit spectroscopy at sub-arcsec spatial resolution, of the narrow-line region of NGC 4151. In agreement with previous work, the extended emission gas (R > 4") is found to be in normal rotation in the galactic plane, a behaviour that we were able to trace even across the nuclear region, where the gas is strongly disturbed by the interaction with the radio jet, and connects smoothly with the large scale rotation defined by the neutral gas emission. The HST data, at 0.029" spatial resolution, allow us for the first time to truly isolate the kinematic behaviour of the individual clouds in the inner narrow-line region. We find that, underlying the perturbations introduced by the radio ejecta, the general velocity field can still be well represented by planar rotation down to a radius of ~ 0.5" (30 pc), distance at which the rotation curve has its turnover. The most striking result that emerges from our analysis is that the galaxy potential derived fitting the rotation curve changes from a "dark halo" at the ENLR distances to dominated by the central mass concentration in the NLR, with an almost Keplerian fall-off in the 1"< R < 4" interval. The observed velocity of the gas at 0.5" implies a mass of M ~ 10E9 M(sol) within the inner 60 pc. The presence of a turnover in the rotation curve indicates that this central mass concentration is extended. The first measured velocity point (outside the region saturated by the nucleus) would imply an enclosed mass of ~ 5E7 M(sol) within R ~ 0.15" (10 pc) which represents an upper limit to any nuclear point mass. (Refer to PDF file for exact formulas).

Publication Date



Also archived in: arXiv:astro-ph/9901415 v1 29 Jan 1999 C.W. to thanks the Space Telescope Science Institute for the hospitality during the last two years, and acknowledges the financial support from the Brazilian institution CNPq through a Post-doctoral fellowship, and from ESA. We also thank the referee, Dr. R. Antonucci for his very thorough reading of this paper.ISSN:1538-4357 Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in February 2014.

Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

School of Physics and Astronomy (COS)


RIT – Main Campus