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Astron. Astrophys. 346, 663-674 (1999)

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Molecular gas in the system of merging galaxies Arp 299 *

F. Casoli 1, M.-C. Willaime 1, F. Viallefond 1 and M. Gerin 2,1

1 DEMIRM, Observatoire de Paris, 61 Av. de l'Observatoire, F-75014 Paris, France and UMR 8540 du CNRS
2 Radioastronomie millimétrique, ENS, 24 Rue Lhomond, F-75231 Paris Cedex 05, France and UMR 8540 du CNRS

Received 7 October 1998 / Accepted 8 March 1999


We present new observations of the merging system Arp 299 obtained with the IRAM Plateau de Bure interferometer. We have observed the [FORMULA], [FORMULA], [FORMULA] and HCN(1-0) lines. For the [FORMULA] line, short spacings were recovered by using 30m data; about half of the total flux is found in weak and extended emission filtered out by the interferometer.

The [FORMULA] map shows three bright regions associated with the nuclei of the galaxies (IC 694=A and NGC 3690=B) and to a star-forming region, C-C', which contains about one-third of the CO emission, but also extended emission and several "filaments" joining the bright regions. We find a south-east extension (A2) in IC 694 which corresponds to bright [FORMULA] and [FORMULA] emission. The [FORMULA] map which has 0.7"x0.6" resolution but does not include short spacings shows the same gross features and is dominated by extremely bright emission in the nucleus of IC 694.

Strong HCN emission is also observed in the nucleus of IC 694 (A), indicating the presence of large amounts of dense gas; weaker emission is found in B, C and C': the [FORMULA]/HCN ratio varies between 20 and 40 in the body of Arp 299, while it is about 7 in nucleus A. B is weak in [FORMULA] emission, with a [FORMULA] ratio of about 30, while A and C-C' exhibit more "normal" ratios (11-16). Globally, C, C' and A2 exhibit line ratios that are typical of galactic disks, while A and B are clearly peculiar, with in particular HCN stronger than [FORMULA].

We find in the CO(1-0) line a regular velocity gradient over the south-east part of IC 694, which apparently extends to the C-C' region. The other regions of Arp 299 have more complex dynamics; from the high-resolution [FORMULA] maps, we are able to locate the dynamical center of NGC 3690 at the position of the radiocontinuum peak. We see clear indications that there is some gas flowing between IC 694 and NGC 3690. The three main regions are then dynamically and physically connected. In Arp 299, gas transfers have thus already occcured at an early stage of the merger.

Key words: ISM: molecules – galaxies: individual: Arp 299; NGC 3690; Mkn 171; IC 694 – galaxies: intergalactic medium – galaxies: interactions

* Based on observations carried out with the IRAM Plateau de Bure Interferometer. IRAM is supported by INSU/CNRS (France), MPG (Germany) and IGN (Spain).

Send offprint requests to: F. Casoli (Fabienne.Casoli@obspm.fr)

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1999

Online publication: May 21, 1999