Researchers use the Large Millimeter Telescope to observe a powerful molecular wind in an active spiral galaxy

October 29, 2018, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Artist composite of the LMT while observing the galaxy IRAS17020+4544. Credits: Departamento de Imagen y Diseño, INAOE/A. Gómez-Ruiz/SDSS/Longinotti et al. 2018

An international team of astrophysicists using the Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT) in central Mexico has detected an unexpected and powerful outflow of molecular gas in a distant active galaxy similar to the Milky Way. The galaxy is 800 million light years from Earth. The findings are published in the current edition of Astrophysical Journal Letters.

The research team includes Min S. Yun, a professor of astronomy at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and colleagues from Mexico's Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica, Óptica y Electrónica (INAOE), the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and institutions in Italy, Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands, Germany and Spain.

Yun says that the LMT, which is operated jointly by UMass Amherst and INAOE, is uniquely suited for detecting a faint, broad line like this observational result and is designed specifically for this type of experiment. "Understanding how frequently the central disrupts its host galaxy through a yet unknown energetic feedback process is one of the most important unanswered questions in the study of galaxy evolution today, and the LMT with its full 50-meter surface that was just completed, should yield more insights in the coming observing seasons," he says

Anna Lia Longinotti of the INAOE, who led the research, says "The novelty of this result is that we are seeing feedback in a galaxy where this phenomenon is not expected. The other two galaxies where it was observed are more dust- and gas-rich, whereas this galaxy is a spiral type, therefore more similar to the Milky Way. This discovery opens the path to explore the possibility that active galactic nuclei (AGN) feedback can be produced also by less luminous objects with different characteristics."

About two years ago, thanks to X-ray data obtained by the European Space Agency satellite XMM-Newton, the presence of ultra-fast outflows of ionized, hot gas at sub-relativistic velocity was reported in this same object, called IRAS17020+4544. These winds are thought to originate in the accretion disk located around the supermassive black hole that powers luminous active galactic nuclei (quasars). The activity of this type of galaxy is related to the energy released by accretion processes that take place close to the black hole. Despite hosting an active nucleus, this galaxy is considerably less luminous when compared to quasars.

The data obtained with the LMT spectrograph Redshift Search Receiver (RSR), developed at UMass Amherst, reveal that such X-ray ultra-fast outflows co-exist with molecular outflow of cold and dense gas that emits in millimeter frequencies, according to a paper recently published in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Artist representation of an active galaxy with a powerful molecular outflow and its nucleus constituted by a supermassive black hole with an accretion disk from where an ultra fast X-ray wind is launched/ejected. Credit: ESA/ATG medialab/NASA/CXC and Nahks Tr’Ehn

Longinotti explains that the gas detected by the LMT is located within the same host galaxy at a large distance, 2,000 to 20,000 light years from the central black hole, whereas the X-ray fast wind is located much closer to the black hole in the heart of the active nucleus.

She highlighted that among the scientific merits in pursuing observations of AGN , one is to corroborate the existence of a connection of accretion disk fast winds and large-scale outflows of molecular gas. "In this galaxy we already had evidence of a wind capable of producing feedback to the host galaxy. Feedback processes may be the result of large ejection of mass and energy that has the effect of sweeping the galaxy and stripping the gas with which stars are formed. The gas entrained by the outflow travels outward and the galaxy is left without 'prime food' to form new stars. Eventually, the effect of the feedback is that the galaxy turns inefficient in forming stars and it becomes a passive galaxy," she says.

The wind observed in X-ray light is launched with a certain amount of energy and force. "Our measurements seem to indicate that the molecular outflow conserves this initial energy while sweeping the galaxy, therefore we do see this connection, and it seems to indicate that the behavior of the black hole, which is responsible for launching the disk wind, has a profound effect on the gas distributed at a much larger scale within the . In conclusion, this connection regulates star formation activity and galaxy evolution.

Longinotti says this phenomenon was not expected in objects that are not quasars nor Ultra Luminous Infrared Galaxies, both characterized by having a large amount of molecular gas.  "We knew that LMT technical features routinely allow observation of molecular gas in galaxies but in this particular one we could determine the presence of the molecular outflow, and measure its velocity. Although not as high as those found for the X-ray wind, the molecular outflow velocity ranges between 700 and 1000 km/s, therefore well in excess to the cold gas typically observed in co-rotation in several galaxies."

INAOE's Olga Vega who also participated in the project, highlighted that the LMT is currently the best single-dish telescope to carry out this type of research. She says, to date, the connection of these winds was detected only in three objects, and the other two are 10 times more luminous than this one. Vega says now that the LMT is operating with 50 meters of diameter and new instrumentation is being installed, it is an ideal observatory to search and detect these outflows in other . "If the aim is to perform a deeper study, it is necessary to go to interferometry as this technique allows dimensions, spatial distribution and geometry of the molecular outflows to be revealed. Nonetheless, the LMT will have a fundamental role to discover new molecular outflows and thus, to unveil the nature of cosmic feedback and its role in ."

Longinotti says this particular galaxy will be the subject of further multi-wavelength studies making it the first time that such a wide and complete campaign is carried out to advance understanding of the outflow phenomenon.

Explore further: Imaging a galaxy's molecular outflow

More information: A. L. Longinotti et al. Early Science with the Large Millimeter Telescope: An Energy-driven Wind Revealed by Massive Molecular and Fast X-Ray Outflows in the Seyfert Galaxy IRAS 17020+4544, The Astrophysical Journal (2018). DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aae5fd

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15 comments

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Benni
1 / 5 (9) Oct 29, 2018
How did she determine the gas was a "molecular" compound of some kind? Secret code meaning something other than a common term used in chemistry?
691Boat
4.4 / 5 (13) Oct 29, 2018
How did she determine the gas was a "molecular" compound of some kind? Secret code meaning something other than a common term used in chemistry?

And you claim to work with spectroscopy?
valeriy_polulyakh
3 / 5 (4) Oct 29, 2018
There are some very complicated issues of galaxy formation. Unfortunately, here is the same problem as with the stars. The origin of galaxies remains unclear, in spite of huge activity in the field. What the "formation" means? It means that we have the material that is assembling into galaxies.
https://www.acade...ome_From
https://www.acade...nd_Winds
Benni
1.4 / 5 (10) Oct 29, 2018
How did she determine the gas was a "molecular" compound of some kind? Secret code meaning something other than a common term used in chemistry?

And you claim to work with spectroscopy?


....then you know what the gas is? Your own?
Benni
1.4 / 5 (9) Oct 29, 2018
There are some very complicated issues of galaxy formation. Unfortunately, here is the same problem as with the stars. The origin of galaxies remains unclear, in spite of huge activity in the field. What the "formation" means? It means that we have the material that is assembling into galaxies.
https://www.acade...ome_From


OK, read your papers. I guess you are among who share the open secret that GRAVITATIONAL COLLAPSE theories are bogus, at least the way they are described as being some sort of mechanism that fires up & stokes the flames of fire in stars.

If you feel in the mood for responding, maybe you can tell us what the "molecular gases" are in your paper & this article?
dsylvan
4.3 / 5 (11) Oct 29, 2018
How did she determine the gas was a "molecular" compound of some kind? Secret code meaning something other than a common term used in chemistry?

And you claim to work with spectroscopy?


....then you know what the gas is? Your own?

Benni, you're not very clever with the insults. Please stick to your normal self-absorbed sophistry where you have some actual talent.
Benni
1.4 / 5 (9) Oct 29, 2018
How did she determine the gas was a "molecular" compound of some kind? Secret code meaning something other than a common term used in chemistry?

And you claim to work with spectroscopy?


....then you know what the gas is? Your own?


Benni, you're not very clever with the insults. Please stick to your normal self-absorbed sophistry where you have some actual talent.
.......then you tell us? So far all I read are responders like you coming up with more gas.
Whydening Gyre
4.6 / 5 (9) Oct 29, 2018
How did she determine the gas was a "molecular" compound of some kind? Secret code meaning something other than a common term used in chemistry?

Spectrographic data...

Benni, you're not very clever with the insults. Please stick to your normal self-absorbed sophistry where you have some actual talent.

.......then you tell us? So far all I read are responders like you coming up with more gas.


The only "gas" I've read was from the opening comment in this thread.
Tuxford
1 / 5 (6) Oct 30, 2018
"The novelty of this result is that we are seeing feedback in a galaxy where this phenomenon is not expected. The other two galaxies where it was observed are more dust- and gas-rich, whereas this galaxy is a spiral type, therefore more similar to the Milky Way. This discovery opens the path to explore the possibility that active galactic nuclei (AGN) feedback can be produced also by less luminous objects with different characteristics."

Duh. I have been saying this for years. Just ignore the term 'feedback'. It is a false assumption by merger maniacs.
Longinotti says this phenomenon was not expected in objects that are not quasars nor Ultra Luminous Infrared Galaxies, both characterized by having a large amount of molecular gas.

Again, the galactic cores spawns the entire galaxy, sourcing the new matter forming stars. So galaxies grow from within, not without. See LaViolette's SQK and continuous creation model.
Tuxford
1 / 5 (6) Oct 30, 2018
For those capable of a bit of logic, see my comments, I dare you:

https://phys.org/...ter.html
https://phys.org/...ole.html
https://phys.org/...ars.html
https://phys.org/...ter.html
https://phys.org/...ole.html
https://phys.org/...ync.html
https://phys.org/...ack.html
https://phys.org/...tml#nRlv
https://phys.org/...axy.html
https://phys.org/...ole.html
https://phys.org/...tml#nRlv

And I can go on. But merger maniacs are lost, and cannot apply simple logical tests based on an alternative model. They are committed to mania. Think Cinderella's shoe!
RNP
4.6 / 5 (11) Oct 30, 2018
@Benni
How did she determine the gas was a "molecular" compound of some kind? Secret code meaning something other than a common term used in chemistry?


The detection was made using the 1–0 rotational transition of CO (carbon monoxide), which is of course a molecule. If you had bothered to look for yourself, you would have seen this clearly stated in the abstract of the paper.
Ojorf
4 / 5 (12) Oct 30, 2018
I guess you are among who share the open secret that GRAVITATIONAL COLLAPSE theories are bogus, at least the way they are described as being some sort of mechanism that fires up & stokes the flames of fire in stars.


Hey Benni, want to talk about your lack of GRAVITATIONAL COLLAPSE comprehension?
I just had an idea, why not start a thread on the forums?
Here can you handle this:
https://www.physicsforums.com
I dare you!
Put your conviction where your mouth is you coward.
SkyLight
4.6 / 5 (11) Oct 30, 2018
@Benni, and anybody else who wonders how to get to read the paper being referenced by this article. Find the "More information" section at the bottom of the article: you'll find there the title of the paper. Copy that title and paste it in the search box in your browser: find the entry for arxiv.org, and click on the link.

This takes you to a page in arxiv where you can read the paper's Abstract, where it states
a prominent line arising from the 12CO(1-0) transition was revealed in recent observations of this source. The complex profile is composed by a narrow double-peak line and a broad wing. While the double-peak structure may be arising in a disk of molecular material, the broad wing is interpreted as the signature of a massive outflow of molecular gas with an approximate bulk velocity of -660 km/s
So, a spectroscopic line arising from a transition in a particular form of the molecule CO (carbon monoxide) was observed. Where's your problem, Benni?
SkyLight
4.5 / 5 (8) Oct 30, 2018
@RNP - just spotted your post after I posted the above ;-)
Ojorf
3.4 / 5 (5) Nov 01, 2018
Where are you Benni, you coward?

Start a thread on Black holes, I double dare you.

Not man enough?

I didn't think so.

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