Gravitational torques imply molecular gas inflow towards the nucleus of M 51
Astronomy and Astrophysics
This is the final version of the article. Available from EDP Sciences via the DOI in this record.
© 2016 ESO.The transport of gas towards the centre of galaxies is critical for black hole feeding and, indirectly, it can control active galactic nucleus (AGN) feedback. We have quantified the molecular gas inflow in the central R< 1 kpc of M 51 to be 1 M⊙/yr, using a new gravitational torque map and the molecular gas traced by the Plateau de Bure Interferometer Arcsecond Whirlpool Survey (PAWS). The nuclear stellar bar is responsible for this gas inflow. We also used torque profiles to estimate the location of dynamical resonances, and the results suggest a corotation for the bar CRbar ∼ 20″, and a corotation for the spiral CRsp ∼ 100″. We demonstrate how important it is to correct 3.6 μm images for dust emission when gravitational torques are to be computed, and we examine further sources of uncertainty. Our observational measurement of gas inflow can be compared with nuclear molecular outflow rates and provide useful constraints for numerical simulations.
The authors would like to thank the anonymous referee for a helpful report, as well as Daniela Calzetti, Nick Z. Scoville and Mari Polletta for making the HST/F190N mosaic available to us. We also appreciate valuable comments from Françoise Combes and Sebastian Haan. We acknowledge financial support to the DAGAL network from the People Programme (Marie Curie Actions) of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme FP7/2007- 2013/ under REA grant agreement number PITN-GA-2011-289313. M.Q. acknowledges the International Max Planck Research School for Astronomy and Cosmic Physics at the University of Heidelberg (IMPRS-HD). S.G.B. thanks support from Spanish grant AYA2012-32295. J.P. acknowledges support from the CNRS programme “Physique et Chimie du Milieu Interstellaire” (PCMI). M.Q., S.E.M., D.C. and A.H. acknowledge funding from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) via grants SCHI 536/7-2,SCHI 536/5-1, and SCHI 536/7-1 as part of the priority program SPP 1573 “ISM-SPP: Physics of the Interstellar Medium”.
Vol. 588, A33
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