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Title

Nuclear 11.3μm PAH emission in local active galactic nuclei

AuthorsAlonso-Herrero, A. ; Esquej, Pilar ; Roche, P. F.; Hernán-Caballero, Antonio ; González-Martín, Omaira ; Aretxaga, I.; Mason, R. E.; Packham, Christopher; Levenson, N.; Rodríguez-Espinosa, J. M.; Pereira-Santaella, Miguel ; Díaz-Santos, T. ; Colina, Luis ; Telesco, C.; Ramos-Almeida, Cristina
Issue Date2014
PublisherOxford University Press
CitationMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 443(3): 2766-2782 (2014)
AbstractWe present Gran Telescopio CANARIAS CanariCam 8.7 μm imaging and 7.5-13 μm spectroscopy of six local systems known to host an active galactic nucleus (AGN) and have nuclear star formation. Our main goal is to investigate whether the molecules responsible for the 11.3 μm polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) feature are destroyed in the close vicinity of an AGN. We detect 11.3 μm PAH feature emission in the nuclear regions of the galaxies as well as extended PAH emission over a few hundred parsecs. The equivalent width (EW) of the feature shows a minimum at the nucleus but increases with increasing radial distances, reaching typical star-forming values a few hundred parsecs away from the nucleus. The reduced nuclear EWs are interpreted as due to increased dilution from the AGN continuum rather than destruction of the PAH molecules. We conclude that at least those molecules responsible for the 11.3 μm PAH feature survive in the nuclear environments as close as 10 pc from the AGN and for Seyfert-like AGN luminosities. We propose that material in the dusty tori, nuclear gas discs, and/or host galaxies of AGN is likely to provide the column densities necessary to protect the PAH molecules from the AGN radiation field. © 2014 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.
DescriptionA. Alonso-Herrero et al.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stu1293
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/110142
DOI10.1093/mnras/stu1293
Identifiersdoi: 10.1093/mnras/stu1293
e-issn: 1365-2966
issn: 0035-8711
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