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OH emission and absorption associated with supernovae in Arp 220

  • Colin J. Lonsdale (a1), Katherine R. de Kleer (a1), Philip J. Diamond (a2), Hannah Thrall (a2), Carol J. Lonsdale (a3) and Harding E. Smith (a4)...


We present parsec-resolution spectral-line VLBI data for two epochs separated by 15 months as a precise new probe of the innermost regions of the nearby Ultraluminous Infrared Galaxy (ULIRG) Arp 220. This galaxy hosts a powerful starburst, with an associated supernova (SN) rate of order 4/yr. An extensive population of compact continuum sources interpreted as radio supernovae (RSNe) and young supernova remnants (SNR) has been imaged. We show here that many of the supernova-related radio continuum point sources exhibit clear evidence of OH absorption or maser emission in the intervening gas, and as such provide us with a sampling of conditions along very narrow and specific lines of sight through the nuclear environment. The OH gas along these lines of sight exhibits velocity dispersions of up to several tens of km/sec, and that in some cases, multiple distinct concentrations of masing gas at different radial velocities can be discerned. There is evidence for variability in the OH properties on ~1yr timescales. Our results are discussed in the context of the overall OH megamaser properties of Arp 220.



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