Massive molecular outflows and negative feedback in ULIRGs observed by herschel-pacs

E. Sturm*, E. Gonzlez-Alfonso, S. Veilleux, J. Fischer, J. Graci-Carpio, S. Hailey-Dunsheath, A. Contursi, A. Poglitsch, A. Sternberg, R. Davies, R. Genzel, D. Lutz, L. Tacconi, A. Verma, R. Maiolino, J. A. De Jong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mass outflows driven by stars and active galactic nuclei (AGNs) are a key element in many current models of galaxy evolution. They may produce the observed black-hole-galaxy mass relation and regulate and quench both star formation in the host galaxy and black hole accretion. However, observational evidence of such feedback processes through outflows of the bulk of the star-forming molecular gas is still scarce. Here we report the detection of massive molecular outflows, traced by the hydroxyl molecule (OH), in far-infrared spectra of ULIRGs obtained with Herschel-PACS as part of the SHINING key project. In some of these objects the (terminal) outflow velocities exceed 1000kms-1, and their outflow rates (up to 1200 M yr -1) are several times larger than their star formation rates. We compare the outflow signatures in different types of ULIRGs and in starburst galaxies to address the issue of the energy source (AGN or starburst) of these outflows. We report preliminary evidence that ULIRGs with a higher AGN luminosity (and higher AGN contribution to L IR) have higher terminal velocities and shorter gas depletion timescales. The outflows in the observed ULIRGs are able to expel the cold gas reservoirs from the centers of these objects within 106-108 years.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL16
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1 PART 2
StatePublished - 20 May 2011


  • Galaxies: active
  • ISM: jets and outflows
  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: starburst


Dive into the research topics of 'Massive molecular outflows and negative feedback in ULIRGs observed by herschel-pacs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this