AAS 204th Meeting, June 2004
Session 40 Galaxies
Poster, Tuesday, June 1, 2004, 10:00am-7:00pm, Ballroom

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[40.26] Feeding the nuclear starburst in NGC 6946 - sub-arcsecond mapping of molecular gas streams

T. Boeker (European Space Agency), E. Schinnerer (NRAO), U. Lisenfeld (IAA), E. Emsellem (CRAL)

We present the highest angular resolution (~ 0.5 arcsec) and most sensitive CO(2-1) and (1-0) observations ever made of the nuclear region of the nearby late type (Scd) spiral galaxy NGC 6946. The data - obtained with the Plateau de Bure interferometer - allow a study of the kinematics of the elongated molecular gas disk. The disk - which has a size of about 12 arcsec - is unresolved in existing data. The kinematic information is crucial to identify the mechanism(s) that funnel large amounts of molecular gas into the very nucleus of NGC 6946, which is currently undergoing a major starburst. The observations provide a test of models which suggest nuclear gas spirals inside the inner Lindblad resonance (ILR) as a possible funneling mechanism. In addition, quantifying the inflow rate yields constraints the ``duty cycle'' of nuclear starbursts in NGC 6946.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: tboeker@rssd.esa.int

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