AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 55 AGN and Starburst Galaxies
Poster, Tuesday, January 6, 2004, 9:20am-6:30pm, Grand Hall

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[55.06] Breaking All the Rules: The Compact Symmetric Object 0402+379

H. L. Maness (Grinnell College), G. B. Taylor, R. T. Zavala (NRAO, Socorro), A. B. Peck (CfA, SMA Project), L. K. Pollack (UC, Berkeley)

We present results of multi-frequency VLBA observations of the compact symmetric object (CSO) 0402+379. The parsec-scale morphology of 0402+379 allows us to confirm it as a CSO, while VLA data clearly show the presence of kiloparsec-scale structure. Thus, 0402+379 is only the second known CSO to possess large scale structure. Another puzzling morphological characteristic found from our observations is the presence of two central, compact, flat-spectrum components, which we identify as possible active nuclei. We also present the discovery of neutral hydrogen absorption along the southern hotspot of 0402+379 with a central velocity ~ 1000 km s-1 greater than the systemic velocity. Multi-epoch observations from the VLA archive, the Caltech-Jodrell Bank Survey, and the VLBA Calibrator Survey allow us to further analyze these anomalous features. Results of this analysis reveal significant motion in the northern hotspot, as well as appreciable variability in both of the core candidates. We consider the possibility that 0402+379 was formed during a recent merger. In this case, the two candidate cores could be interpreted as binary supermassive black holes that have not yet coalesced, whereas the large-scale radio emission could be attributed to interactions directly linked to the merger or to previous activity associated with one of the cores.

H. M. gratefully acknowledges funding from the REU program at NSF.

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

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35#5
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.