Previous abstract Next abstract
Session 56 - Active Galaxies: The Central Engine.
Oral session, Tuesday, January 16
Corte Real, Hilton
UV spectra of the nucleus of the elliptical galaxy Arp 102B were obtained with the HST\/'s Faint Object Spectrograph in order to investigate the UV emission-line counterparts of its unusual double-peaked Balmer lines. Broad Mg II \lambda2798 is present with nearly the same profile as the Balmer lines (peaks separated by \approx 12,000 km s^-1), and a typical Mg II/H\beta ratio of 1. But there is little, if any C III] \lambda1909 or C IV \lambda1550 emission corresponding to the displaced Balmer-line peaks. Most important, there is no double-peaked component detected in Ly\alpha; the Ly\alpha/H\beta ratio is < 0.12 in the displaced peaks. However, there is an ``ordinary,'' non-displaced broad-line component with FWHM \approx 3500 km s^-1 in all\/ of the permitted lines, demonstrating the need to invoke different locations and different physical conditions for double-peaked and single-peaked line components in the same object. The striking absence of displaced peaks in Ly\alpha cannot be explained solely by reddening. Rather, it indicates that high density and large optical depth in Ly\alpha are required to destroy the line photons by collisional deexcitation and possibly by bound-free absorption out of the n=2 level of hydrogen. These results strongly support the application, at least to Arp 102B, of the accretion-disk model of Dumont and Collin-Souffrin, in which the disk produces only low-ionization lines and a Ly\alpha/H\beta ratio that agrees with our upper limit.
Also present is an extraordinary system of absorption lines at the systemic redshift of Arp 102B, in which metastable levels of Fe II up to 1.1 eV above the ground state participate in addition to the more common resonance transitions. Absorption from metastable levels has been seen previously only in two unusual, low-ionization BALQSOs, Q0059--2735 and Mrk 231. Why they are seen in absorption in Arp 102B, a relatively unobscured AGN, but in no other appropriately observed Seyfert or radio galaxy, is a mystery.
Program listing for Tuesday