Tidally compressed gas in centers of early-type and ultraluminous galaxies

Das, Mousumi ; Jog, Chanda J. (1999) Tidally compressed gas in centers of early-type and ultraluminous galaxies Astrophysical Journal, 527 (2). pp. 600-608. ISSN 0004-637X

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Official URL: http://iopscience.iop.org/0004-637X/527/2/600/

Related URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/308121


In this paper we propose that the compressive tidal field in the centers of flat-core early-type galaxies and ultraluminous galaxies compresses molecular clouds producing dense gas observed in the centers of these galaxies. The effect of galactic tidal fields is usually considered disruptive in the literature. However, for some galaxies, the mass profile flattens toward the center and the resulting galactic tidal field is not disruptive, but instead it is compressive within the flat-core region. We have used the virial theorem to determine the minimum density of a molecular cloud to be stable and gravitationally bound within the tidally compressive region of a galaxy. We have applied the mechanism to determine the mean molecular cloud densities in the centers of a sample of flat-core, early-type galaxies and ultraluminous galaxies. For early-type galaxies with a core-type luminosity profile, the tidal field of the galaxy is compressive within half the core radius. We have calculated the mean gas densities for molecular gas in a sample of early-type galaxies which have already been detected in CO emission, and we obtain mean densities of (n) ~ 103-106 cm-3 within the central 100 pc radius. We also use our model to calculate the molecular cloud densities in the inner few hundred parsecs of a sample of ultraluminous galaxies. From the observed rotation curves of these galaxies we show that they have a compressive core within their nuclear region. Our model predicts minimum molecular gas densities in the range 102-104 cm-3 in the nuclear gas disks; the smaller values are applicable typically for galaxies with larger core radii. The resulting density values agree well with the observed range. Also, for large core radii, even fairly low-density gas (~102 cm-3) can remain bound and stable close to the galactic center.

Item Type:Article
Source:Copyright of this article belongs to American Astronomical Society.
ID Code:14159
Deposited On:12 Nov 2010 08:58
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