AAS Meeting #193 - Austin, Texas, January 1999
Session 57. Accretion Disks in Nearby AGN
Oral, Thursday, January 7, 1999, 2:00-3:30pm, Ballroom B

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[57.06D] Molecular Gas Disks in Nearby Active Galactic Nuclei

Andrew J. Baker (Caltech)

Many galactic nuclei host massive black holes, but not all nuclei with black holes are active. To understand if and how the supply of fuel affects a galaxy's activity level, I am conducting a survey with the Owens Valley millimeter array of the cold molecular gas in nine nearby spirals which possess a broad {\rm H\alpha} component in their Seyfert or LINER nuclear spectra. I have mapped the sample at arcsecond resolution in the CO(2arrow1) rotational transition, and at lower resolution in the CO(1arrow0) transition. The galaxies harbor ~ 108\,{\rm M\odot} of molecular gas within 500\,pc of their nuclei, in disklike structures which are flattened and show strong rotational gradients perpendicular to emergent radio jets and optical ionization cones. The intensity ratios of the two CO lines indicate they have high excitation temperatures and low optical depths in at least some systems. The gas structures also display striking levels of nonaxisymmetry in their mass, excitation, and kinematic properties, and in some cases confirm the absence of a single symmetry axis which is consistent over all scales. I will discuss the roles played by these molecular disks in fueling and obscuring emission from the central black holes, with particular emphasis on the prototypical Seyfert galaxy NGC\,1068.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: ajb@astro.caltech.edu

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