Molecular gas chemistry in AGN. II. High-resolution imaging of SiO emission in NGC 1068: shocks or XDR?
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2010

Context. This paper is part of a multi-species survey of line emission from the molecular gas in the circum-nuclear disk (CND) of the Seyfert 2 galaxy NGC 1068. Unlike in other active galaxies, the intensely star-forming regions in NGC 1068 and the CND can be resolved with current instrumentation. This makes this galaxy an optimal test-bed to probe the effects of AGN on the molecular medium at similar to 100 pc scales. Aims. Single-dish observations have provided evidence that the abundance of silicon monoxide (SiO) in the CND of NGC 1068 is enhanced by 3-4 orders of magnitude with respect to the values typically measured in quiescent molecular gas in the Galaxy. We aim at unveiling the mechanism(s) underlying the SiO enhancement. Methods. We have imaged the emission of the SiO(2-1) (86.8 GHz) and CN(2-1) (226.8 GHz) lines in NGC 1068 at similar to 150 pc and 60 pc spatial resolution with the IRAM Plateau de Bure interferometer (PdBI). We have also obtained complementary IRAM 30 m observations of HNCO and methanol (CH3OH) lines. These species are known as tracers of shocks in the Galaxy. Results. SiO is detected in a disk of similar to 400 pc size around the AGN. SiO abundances in the CND of similar to(1-5) x 10(-9) are about 1-2 orders of magnitude above those measured in the starburst ring. The overall abundance of CN in the CND is high: similar to(0.2-1) x 10(-7). The abundances of SiO and CN are enhanced at the extreme velocities of gas associated with non-circular motions close to the AGN (r < 70 pc). On average, HNCO/SiO and CH3OH/SiO line ratios in the CND are similar to those measured in prototypical shocked regions in our Galaxy. Yet the strength and abundance of CN in NGC 1068 can be explained neither by shocks nor by photon-dominated region (PDR) chemistry. Abundances measured for CN and SiO and the correlation of CN/CO and SiO/CO ratios with hard X-ray irradiation suggest that the CND of NGC 1068 has become a giant X-ray-dominated region (XDR). Conclusions. The extreme properties of molecular gas in the circum-nuclear molecular disk of NGC 1068 result from the interplay between different processes directly linked to nuclear activity. The results presented here highlight in particular the footprint of shocks and X-ray irradiation on the properties of molecular gas in this Seyfert. Whereas XDR chemistry offers a simple explanation for CN and SiO in NGC 1068, the relevance of shocks deserves further scrutiny. The inclusion of dust grain chemistry would help solve the controversy regarding the abundances of other molecular species, like HCN, which are under-predicted by XDR models.

center region


galaxies: individual: NGC 1068


galaxies: nuclei




ultraluminous infrared galaxies


line emission

galaxies: kinematics and



active galactic nucleus

galaxies: active

galaxies: ISM

radio lines: ISM


S. G. Burillo

A. Usero

A. Fuente

J. Martin-Pintado

Centro de Astrobiologia (CAB)

F. Boone

LERMA - Laboratoire d'Etudes du Rayonnement et de la Matiere en Astrophysique et Atmospheres

Susanne Aalto

Chalmers, Rymd- och geovetenskap, Radioastronomi och astrofysik

M. Krips

Institut de RadioAstronomie Millimetrique (IRAM)

R. Neri

Institut de RadioAstronomie Millimetrique (IRAM)

E. Schinnerer

Max Planck-institutet

L. J. Tacconi

Max Planck-institutet

Astronomy and Astrophysics

0004-6361 (ISSN) 1432-0746 (eISSN)

Vol. 519 A2


Astronomi, astrofysik och kosmologi