Circumgalactic Gas at Its Extreme : Tidal Gas Streams around the Whale Galaxy NGC 4631 Explored with HST/COS

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Richter , P , Winkel , B , Wakker , B P , Pingel , N M , Fox , A J , Heald , G , Walterbos , R A M , Fechner , C , Ben Bekhti , N , Gentile , G & Zschaechner , L 2018 , ' Circumgalactic Gas at Its Extreme : Tidal Gas Streams around the Whale Galaxy NGC 4631 Explored with HST/COS ' , Astrophysical Journal , vol. 868 , no. 2 , 112 . https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/aae838

Title: Circumgalactic Gas at Its Extreme : Tidal Gas Streams around the Whale Galaxy NGC 4631 Explored with HST/COS
Author: Richter, P.; Winkel, B.; Wakker, B. P.; Pingel, N. M.; Fox, A. J.; Heald, G.; Walterbos, R. A. M.; Fechner, C.; Ben Bekhti, N.; Gentile, G.; Zschaechner, L.
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Department of Physics
Date: 2018-12-01
Language: eng
Number of pages: 12
Belongs to series: Astrophysical Journal
ISSN: 0004-637X
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/298978
Abstract: We present a detailed analysis of the absorption properties of one of the tidal gas streams around the "Whale" galaxy NGC 4631 in the direction of the quasar 2MASS J12421031+3214268. Our study is based on ultraviolet spectral data obtained with the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) on board the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and 21cm-data from the HALOGAS project and the Green Bank Telescope (GBT). We detect strong H I Ly alpha absorption in the velocity range +550 to +800 km s(-1) related to gas from a NGC 4631 tidal stream known as Spur 2. We measure a column density of log (N(H I/cm(-2))) = 18.68 +/- 0.15, indicating that the quasar sightline traces the outer boundary of Spur 2 as seen in the 21 cm data. Metal absorption in Spur 2 is detected in the lines of O I, C II, Si II, and Si III in a complex absorption pattern that reflects the multiphase nature of the gas. We find that the average neutral gas fraction in Spur 2 toward 2MASS J12421031+3214268 is only 14%. This implies that ionized gas dominates the total mass of Spur 2, which then may comprise more than 10(9)M(circle dot). No significant depletion of Si is observed, showing that Spur 2 does not contain significant amounts of dust. From the measured O I/H I column density ratio, we determine an alpha abundance in Spur 2 of 0.131(-0.05)(+0.07) solar ([alpha/H] = -0.90 +/- 0.16), which is substantially lower than what is observed in the NGC 4631 disk. The low metallicity and low dust content suggest that Spur 2 represents metal-deficient gas stripped off a gas-rich satellite galaxy during a recent encounter with NGC 4631.
Subject: galaxies: evolution
galaxies: halos
galaxies: interactions
ISM: abundances
quasars: absorption lines
HIGH-VELOCITY CLOUDS
N-BODY SIMULATIONS
MAGELLANIC STREAM
NEUTRAL HYDROGEN
ATOMIC-HYDROGEN
COMPLEX-C
ACCRETION
NGC-4631
DUST
METALLICITY
115 Astronomy, Space science
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