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Astron. Astrophys. 354, L45-L48 (2000)

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Letter to the Editor

A thin H I circumnuclear disk in NGC 4261

H.J. van Langevelde 1, Y.M. Pihlström 2, J.E. Conway 2, W. Jaffe 3 and R.T. Schilizzi 1,3

1 Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe, Postbus 2, 7900 AA, Dwingeloo, The Netherlands
2 Onsala Space Observatory, 439 92 Onsala, Sweden
3 Sterrewacht Leiden, Postbus 9513, 2300 RA, The Netherlands

Received 30 November 1999 / Accepted 19 December 1999


We report on high sensitivity, spectral line VLBI observations of the H I absorption feature in the radio galaxy NGC 4261. Although absorption is only detectable on the most sensitive baseline, it can be unambiguously associated with the counterjet and is interpreted to originate in a thin atomic circumnuclear disk. This structure is probably a continuation of the dusty accretion disk inferred from HST imaging, which could be feeding the massive black hole. H I column densities in front of the counterjet of the order of [FORMULA] cm-2 are derived, consistent with X-ray data and VLBI scale free-free absorption. The data presented here are the result of the first scientific project processed on the new EVN MkIV data processor.

Key words: galaxies: active – galaxies: individual: NGC 4261 – radio lines: galaxies

Send offprint requests to: YMP (ylva@oso.chalmers.se)

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 2000

Online publication: January 31, 2000