Toward a New Geometric Distance to the Active Galaxy NGC 4258. II. Centripetal Accelerations and Investigation of Spiral Structure

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Toward a New Geometric Distance to the Active Galaxy NGC 4258. II. Centripetal Accelerations and Investigation of Spiral Structure

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Title: Toward a New Geometric Distance to the Active Galaxy NGC 4258. II. Centripetal Accelerations and Investigation of Spiral Structure
Author: Humphreys, E. M. L.; Reid, Mark Jonathan; Greenhill, Lincoln J.; Moran, James M.; Argon, Alice L.

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Citation: Humphreys, E. M. L., Mark Jonathan Reid, Lincoln J. Greenhill, James M. Moran, and Alice L. Argon. 2008. “Toward a New Geometric Distance to the Active Galaxy NGC 4258. II. Centripetal Accelerations and Investigation of Spiral Structure.” Astrophysical Journal 672 (2) (January 10): 800-816. doi:10.1086/523637.
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Abstract: We report measurements of centripetal accelerations of maser spectral components of NGC 4258 for 51 epochs spanning 1994 to 2004. This is the second paper of a series, in which the goal is the determination of a new geometric maser distance to NGC 4258, accurate to possibly ~3%. We measure accelerations using a formal analysis method that involves simultaneous decomposition of maser spectra for all epochs into multiple, Gaussian components. Components are coupled between epochs by linear drifts (accelerations) from their centroid velocities at a reference epoch. For high-velocity emission, accelerations lie in the range \(–0.7 to +0.7 km s^{−1} yr^{−1}\), indicating an origin within 13° of the disk midline (the perpendicular to the line of sight [LOS] to the black hole). Comparison of the projected positions of high-velocity emission in VLBI images with those derived from acceleration data provides evidence that masers trace real gas dynamics. High-velocity emission accelerations do not support a model of trailing shocks associated with spiral arms in the disk. However, we find strengthened evidence for spatial periodicity in high-velocity emission, of wavelength 0.75 mas. This supports suggestions of spiral structure due to density waves in the nuclear accretion disk of an active galaxy. Accelerations of low-velocity (systemic) emission lie in the range \(7.7 to 8.9 km s^{−1} yr^{−1}\), consistent with emission originating from a concavity where the thin, warped disk is tangent to the LOS. A trend in accelerations of low-velocity emission, as a function of Doppler velocity, may be associated with disk geometry and orientation or with the presence of spiral structure.
Published Version: doi:10.1086/523637
Other Sources: http://arxiv.org/abs/0709.0925
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#LAA
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:11596973
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