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[*] An HST study of the double nucleus in the ULIRG NGC 6240
Gerssen J., van der Marel R.P., Axon D., Barnes J., Hernquist L., Mihos C.
BAAS, 33, 2, 899, 2001 (AAS Meeting 198, 74.09)
© 2001. The American Astronomical Society. All Rights Reserved.


The ultraluminous infra-red galaxy (ULIRG) NGC 6240 shows both tidal tails and a double nucleus, suggesting an on-going merger. The IR emission is due in part to dust-heating by a starburst, but strong X-ray emission indicates that at least part of the IR luminosity is powered by an AGN. NGC 6240 is thus a possible prototype for the obscured AGNs at high redshifts that are now being detected in large numbers by Chandra. We present the results of a detailed photometric and spectroscopic study with HST of the region around the double nucleus. Absorption- and emission-line spectra are used to derive the stellar and ionized gas kinematics. These are used to study the central mass distribution and to search for possible supermassive black holes in the nuclei. N-body merger simulations are used to address to what extent the kinematics have been affected by tidal forces in the interaction. The results are discussed in the context of results from other wavelength ranges, and for other ULIRGs.

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Last modified June 15, 2001.
Roeland van der Marel, marel@stsci.edu.
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