A Large Double Radio Source from a Spiral Galaxy: 0313-192

This is additional information to accompany the HST/VLA/Gemini press release. Much is from the display presentation by Keel, Ledlow, and Owen at the January 2003 meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle.

HST and Gemini Images of the Radio Galaxy 0313-192: A Giant Radio Source from the Wrong Kind of Galaxy

HST and VLA radio/optical overlay of 0313-192


Powerful double radio sources universally arise from elliptical galaxies or merger remnants, which has shaped theories of their origin. Thus, it was important to confirm the nature of the disk galaxy identified with the 200-kpc FR I source 0313-192 at z=0.067. HST ACS and Gemini-S JHK images show clearly that this is indeed a spiral galaxy, seen within 0.5° of edge-on. The dust lane is thick, highly structured, and warped by 3° to the starlight midplane. The stellar disk is thick and red, with z scale height nearly 1/4 of the radial scale length. H II regions are visible in the disk plane where the warp or gaps allow us to see them around the dust. Star formation, radial extent of the dust, and modest bulge/disk ratio all indicate that the galaxy is a genuine spiral, the only one identified to host a giant double radio source. Ha and [O III] emission trace a nuclear structure spanning ~5 kpc, tilted by ~30° to the disk and perpendicular to the inner radio jet, which is more like an inner disk than ionization cones. The optical depth from dust (as well as H I) is comparable to that in our own disk. Reddened nuclear light becomes prominent at K, at a location matching both the radio core and the center of the bulge isophotes. Several of these features may be remnants of a minor merger in this unusually luminous spiral, which might give clues to how such an unusual host can support a large and powerful double radio source. A luminous bulge, dynamical perturbation, group environment, and jet axis nearly perpendicular to the disk might all be implicated in allowing the "wrong" kind of host galaxy to show this powerful activity.

This work was supported by NASA under STScI grant GO-09376.01A.

Basic properties of 0313-192

  • Found in 20-cm survey of Abell clusters by Owen & Ledlow 1997
  • 200-kpc double source with kpc nuclear jet
  • Part of Abell 428; redshift surveys show the environment may well be an extended filament seen end-on (Ledlow et al. 2001)
  • Ground-based optical imaging shows a disk-dominated galaxy (Ledlow et al. 1998)
  • Emission lines indicate Sy 2 nucleus, plus H II regions in disk
  • Deep 21-cm absorption, H I column depth ~1022/cm2 (Ledlow et al.

    New Observations

    We present results from:

  • HST ACS imaging in V and I plus narrow-band Ha and [O III]
  • Gemini-S JHK imaging at 0.36-0.40" FWHM

    Registration using USNO A-2 stars shows that the infrared peak, radio core, and center of bulge isophotes coincide to at least 0.1".

    ACS color image of 0313-192

    What kind of galaxy is this?

    Classifying the host galaxy of 0313-192 is interesting, since we view it within 0.5° of edge-on. We use criteria not involving the arm structure to conclude that this must be a genuine spiral (rather than S0).

  • Bulge/disk decomposition shows a de Vaucouleurs-like bulge and truncated (double) exponential disk. These components have the same V-I, which fits with the scale height in identifying this as a thick-disk component. The bulge contributes about 1/3 of the I-band light.
  • The dust lane is thick with rich vertical structure, as seen in edge-on spirals with brisk star formation. Clouds and filaments reach to almost 800 pc from the plane. The dust is warped by about 3° from the stellar disk, allowing us to peek around to some pieces of the blue thin-disk component. Dust spans the whole radial extent of the stellar disk. Nuclear light seen at K suggests an optical depth (and dust-to-gas ratio) similar to that along the line of sight to our galactic center.
  • ACS and Gemini-S imagery of 0313-192

    Put together, these argue strongly that 0313-192 is a spiral galaxy, of type Sa or Sb. A funny place to find a large double radio source.

    Emission-Line Structures

    Emission-line structures in 0313-192ACS linear-ramp filter data show normal disk H II regions around the dust, plus a structure inclined by about 30 to the stellar disk. This is nearly perpendicular to the radio jet axis. This may be gas in an inner disk, perhaps recently accreted and not yet settled into the disk. This is large compared to dusty disks in many radio galaxies, but the orientation is suspicious.The [O III]/Ha ratio is nearly constant throughout this structure, which suggests (along with the orientation) that it is not an ionization cone. The dust lane makes it clear why the optical spectrum lacks signs of a broad-line region.

    So - how does 0313-192 do this trick?

    What makes 0313-192 the only spiral galaxy we know of within a billion light years to host a giant double radio source? We do have a few speculations.

  • The disk warp and tilted ionized-gas structure suggest an interaction or minor merger.
  • The loose-group local environment might have a denser IGM than most spirals see, which helps in making the flow radiate.
  • The jets apparently come off almost perpendicular to the disk, encountering the minimal column density of ISM on the way. This also implies that the kpc jet flow must be intrinsically quite one-sided.
  • The bulge is fairly luminous, so that a central black hole of order 108 solar masses would be expected.

    For something this rare, a combination of these factors may have to conspire.

    Some relevant links:

  • Active galactic nuclei - pictures and essays
  • Active galactic nuclei - technical lecture notes
  • Radio galaxies - technical lecture notes
  • Alan Bridle's gallery of radio galaxies and quasars, at NRAO
  • Bill Keel's Home Page
  • UA Astronomy
  • Space Telescope Science Institute
  • National Radio Astronomy Observatory
  • International Gemini Observatory

    Last changes: 12/2002	  © 2002