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Astron. Astrophys. 341, L35-L38 (1999)

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Letter to the Editor

The effect of bars on the obscuration of active nuclei

R. Maiolino 1, G. Risaliti 2 and M. Salvati 1

1 Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo E.Fermi 5, I-50125 Firenze, Italy (e-mail: maiolino@arcetri.astro.it; salvati@arcetri.astro.it)
2 Dipartimento di Astronomia, Università di Firenze, Largo E.Fermi 5, I-50125 Firenze, Italy (e-mail: risaliti@arcetri.astro.it)

Received 20 October 1998 / Accepted 16 November 1998


We present evidence for a strong correlation between the gaseous absorbing column density towards type 2 Seyfert nuclei and the presence of a stellar bar in their host galaxies. Strongly barred Seyfert 2 galaxies have an average [FORMULA] that is two orders of magnitude higher than non-barred Seyfert 2s. More than 80% of Compton thick ([FORMULA]) Seyfert 2s are barred. This result indicates that stellar bars are effective in driving gas in the vicinity of active nuclei.

Key words: galaxies: nuclei – galaxies: Seyfert

Send offprint requests to: R. Maiolino

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1999

Online publication: December 4, 1998