Another piece of the puzzle: The fast H I outflow in Mrk 231

Raffaella Morganti, Sylvain Veilleux, Tom Oosterloo, Stacy H. Teng, David Rupke

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We present the detection, performed with the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT) and the Karl Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), of a fast H I 21 cm outflow in the ultra-luminous infrared galaxy Mrk 231. The outflow is observed as shallow H I absorption blueshifted ~1300 km s-1 with respect to the systemic velocity and located against the inner kpc of the radio source. The outflowing gas has an estimated column density between 5 and 15 × 1018Tspin cm-2. We derive the Tspin to lie in the range 400-2000 K and the corresponding H I densities are nHI ~ 10-100 cm-3. Our results complement previous findings and confirm the multiphase nature of the outflow in Mrk 231. Although effects of the interaction between the radio plasma and the surrounding medium cannot be ruled out, the energetics and the lack of a clear kpc-scale jet suggest that the most likely origin of the H I outflow is a wide-angle nuclear wind, as earlier proposed to explain the neutral outflow traced by Na I and molecular gas in this source. Our results suggest that an H I component is present in fast outflows regardless of the acceleration mechanism (wind vs. jet driven) and that it must be connected with common properties of the pre-interaction gas involved. Considering the observed similarity of their column densities, the H I outflow likely represents the inner part of the broad wind identified on larger scales in atomic Na I. The mass outflow rate of the H I outflow (between 8 and 18 M⊙ yr-1) does not appear to be as large as that observed in molecular gas, partly owing to the smaller sizes of the outflowing region sampled by the H I absorption. These characteristics are commonly seen in other cases of outflows driven by the active galactic nucleus (AGN) suggesting that the H I may represent a short intermediate phase in the rapid cooling of the gas. The results further confirm H I as a good tracer for AGN-driven outflows not only in powerful radio sources. We also obtained deeper continuum images than previously available. They confirm the complex structure of the radio continuum originating both from the AGN and star formation. At the resolution obtained with the VLA (~1'') we do not see a kpc-scale jet. Instead, we detect a plateau of emission, likely due to star formation, surrounding the bright nuclear region. We also detect a poorly collimated bridge which may represent the channel feeding the southern lobe. The unprecedented depth of the low-resolution WSRT image reveals radio emission extending 50'' (43 kpc) to the south and 20'' (17 kpc) to the north. The continuum images and the average spectra (FITS files) are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (http://130.79.128.5) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/593/A30
Originele taal-2English
ArtikelnummerA30
Aantal pagina's11
TijdschriftAstronomy and astrophysics
Volume593
DOI's
StatusPublished - sep-2016

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