Galaxies and Galaxy Nuclei: From Hot Cores to Cold Outflows
Paper in proceedings, 2015
Studying the molecular phase of the interstellar medium in galaxies is fundamental for the understanding of the onset and evolution of star formation and the growth of supermassive black holes. We can use molecules as observational tools exploiting them as tracers of chemical, physical and dynamical conditions. In this short review, key molecules (e.g. HCN, HCO+, HNC, HC3N, CN) in identifying the nature of buried activity and its evolution are discussed including some standard astrochemical scenarios. Furthermore, we can use IR excited molecular emission to probe the very inner regions of luminous infrared galaxies (LIRGs) allowing us to get past the optically thick dust barrier of the compact obscured nuclei. We show that the vibrationally excited lines are important probes of nuclei where lines of CO, HCN and HCO+ in their vibrational ground state (v=0) may be self-absorbed. Finally, molecular outflows are briefly discussed-including the new ALMA discovery of a highly collimated (jet-like) reversed molecular outflow in the lenticular, extremely radio-quiet galaxy NGC1377.