High-resolution imaging of brackett-γ and H2 1-0 S(1) emission in the Seyfert galaxy NGC 1068

V. Rotaciuc, A. Krabbe, M. Cameron, S. Drapatz, R. Genzel, A. Sternberg, J. W.V. Storey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report 1″ resolution imaging of 2 μm H I Brγ and H2 1-0 S(1) line emission toward the nucleus of the Seyfert 2 galaxy NGC 1068. The data, taken with a new imaging Fabry-Perot, show that the emission in both infrared lines originates from within 2″ (170 pc) of the peak of radio, near-infrared, and visible continuum radiation. The vibrational H2 emission has a double-lobed shape, with a minimum toward the nucleus and two peaks about 1.″3 on either side of the nucleus along position angle 70° east of north. In contrast, the Brγ emission is peaked on the nucleus, similar to the central radio continuum structure and the narrow-line region (NLR) in the visible. The Brγ emission has a ≈ 1″ (FWHM) diameter and is more compact than the distributions of visible NLR tracers. The H2 emission is probably produced in hot gas with mass a few 103 M. However, the total H2 mass in the circumnuclear region hydrogen may approach 108 M. The H2 emission is not produced in a 1 pc size obscuring torus but probably comes from a system of molecular clouds in the vicinity of the NLR. The molecular clouds probably contribute significantly to the extinction of the nuclear source. We propose that the circumnuclear Brγ and H2 emission lines are excited in gas heated by UV or X-ray photons emitted by a central nonstellar source.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L23-L26
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART 2
StatePublished - 20 Mar 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Galaxies: individual (NGC 1068)
  • Galaxies: nuclei
  • Infrared: spectra
  • Interstellar: matter


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