Molecular Gas in the Nuclear Region of NGC 6240

Adalyn Fyhrie*, Jason Glenn, Naseem Rangwala, Jordan Wheeler, Sara Beck, John Bally

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


NGC 6240 is a luminous infrared galaxy in the local universe in the midst of a major merger. We analyze high-resolution interferometric observations of warm molecular gas using CO J = 3-2 and 6-5 in the central few kpc of NGC 6240 taken by the Atacama Large Millimeter Array. Using these CO line observations, we model the density distribution and kinematics of the molecular gas between the nuclei of the galaxies. Our models suggest that a disk model represents the data poorly. Instead, we argue that the observations are consistent with a tidal bridge between the two nuclei. We also observe high-velocity redshifted gas that is not captured by the model. These findings shed light on small-scale processes that can affect galaxy evolution and the corresponding star formation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number208
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2021


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