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ISO Observations of AGN and Ultraluminous IR Galaxies

  • Alan F. M. Moorwood (a1)

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All the ISO instruments are contributing to the study of activity in galaxies of essentially all types. Although AGN's as such are pointlike, the beautiful CAM image of CenA shown by Catherine Cesarsky has given us the clearest view so far of its visually obscured nucleus and surrounding spiral disc embedded in an elliptical galaxy. The CAM CVF is also providing spectral images of the PAH features and important diagnostic ionic lines (e.g [NeII] and [NeIII]) in the circumnuclar regions of AGN and merging starburst systems (Vigroux et al., 1996). PHT is providing detailed spectral energy distributions over the complete 2.5-240µm range and PHTS is proving invaluable for assembling a catalogue of low resolution (R ⋍ 90) galaxy spectra covering the 6-12µm PAH features. SWS and LWS are generating higher resolution (R ⋍ 2000-200) spectra over the range 2.5-200µm such as that shown in Fig. 1. of the Circinus galaxy which exhibits both AGN and starburst activity and well illustrates the wide range of diagnostic features, many seen for the first time, accessible to ISO studies of galaxies. It shows the overall continuum with a peak around 100µm; PAH features and Si absorption which dominate the spectrum around 10µm; H recombination lines; H2 pure rotational emission lines; low ionization potential ionic lines excited by starburst activity and high excitation lines (up to ⋍ 300eV) excited by the visually obscured AGN.

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References

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