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