In order to study the spatial variation of molecular gas properties and their relation to the nuclear activities of galaxies, we have conducted an imaging survey of HCN(1-0) and CO(1-0) emission from nearby active galaxies with the Nobeyama Millimeter Array. Here we present the results of three galaxies, NGC 3504 (Starburst nucleus), NGC 4736 (Post-Starburst nucleus), and NGC 6951 (Seyfert nucleus with a circumnuclear star-forming ring).
In the observations of these three galaxies, we find that (1) the HCN distribution is significantly different from that of CO, and that (2) the HCN emission spatially correlates better with the massive star-forming region than CO emission (Figure 1, 2(a), and 2(b)). For instance, in the Post-Starburst nucleus of NGC 4736, we find a remarkable decrease of the HCN emission, despite of strong CO nuclear concentration. The upper limit (2σ) of the integrated intensity ratio I(HCN)/I(CO) within the central r < 150 pc region is 0.04, which is surprisingly low compared with the value in other galactic nucleus (cf. ratio = 0.08 within r < 300 pc in Milky Way, Jackson et al. 1996, ApJ, 456, 91). Presumably the dense molecular gas must have been consumed by a past starburst event in the nucleus. These results suggest a tight correlation between the gas density measured by the I(HCN)/I(CO) ratio and the star-forming activities in the central region of galaxies.
It seems that there exist a spatial anti-correlation between the I(HCN)/ I(CO) ratio and the gas velocity dispersion in NGC 6951 (Figure 2(c)). The ratio is not enhanced in the CO twin peaks which are interpreted as shock regions due to gas orbit crowding. These imply the importance of gravitational instability on the formation of dense molecular gas and successive massive starformation in this region.