The `shook up' galaxy NGC 3079: The complex interplay between H I, activity and environment

N. Shafi, T. A. Oosterloo, R. Morganti, S. Colafrancesco, R. Booth

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We present deep neutral hydrogen (H I) observations of the starburst/Seyfert galaxy NGC 3079 and its environment, obtained with the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope. Our observations reveal previously unknown components, both in H I emission and in absorption, that show that NGC 3079 is going through a hectic phase in its evolution. The H I disc appears much more extended than previously observed and is morphologically and kinematically lopsided on all scales with evidence for strong non-circular motions in the central regions. Our data reveal prominent gas streams encircling the entire galaxy suggesting strong interaction with its neighbours. A 33 kpc long H I bridge is detected between NGC 3079 and MCG 9-17-9, likely caused by ram-pressure stripping of MGC 9-17-9 by the halo of hot gas of NGC 3079. The cometary H I tail of the companion NGC 3073, earlier discovered by Irwin et al., extends about twice as long in our data, while a shorter, second tail is also found. This tail is likely caused by ram-pressure stripping by the strong, starburst-driven wind coming from NGC 3079. We also detect, in absorption, a nuclear H I outflow extending to velocities well outside what expected for gravitational motion. This is likely an atomic counterpart of the well-studied outflow of ionized gas present in this galaxy. This may indicate that also large amounts of cold gas are blown out of NGC 3079 by the starburst/AGN. Our estimates of the jet energy and kinetic power suggest that both the AGN and the starburst in NGC 3079 are powerful enough to drive the atomic outflow.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1404-1415
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2015


  • galaxies: starburst
  • galaxies: haloes
  • galaxies: individual (NGC 3079
  • NGC 3073
  • MCG 9-17-9)
  • ISM: jets and outflows
  • galaxies: kinematics and dynamics

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