Gas dynamics of the central few parsec region of NGC 1068 fuelled by the evolving nuclear star cluster

M. Schartmann, A. Burkert, Martin Krause, M. Camenzind, K. Meisenheimer, R.~I. Davies

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Recently, high-resolution observations with the help of the near-infrared adaptive optics integral field spectrograph Spectrograph for INtegral Field Observations in the Near Infrared (SINFONI) at the Very Large Telescope proved the existence of massive and young nuclear star clusters in the centres of a sample of Seyfert galaxies. With the help of three-dimensional high-resolution hydrodynamical simulations with the PLUTO code, we follow the evolution of such clusters, especially focusing on stellar mass loss feeding gas into the ambient interstellar medium and driving turbulence. This leads to a vertically wide distributed clumpy or filamentary inflow of gas on large scales (tens of parsec), whereas a turbulent and very dense disc builds up on the parsec scale. In order to capture the relevant physics in the inner region, we treat this disc separately by viscously evolving the radial surface density distribution. This enables us to link the tens of parsec-scale region (accessible via SINFONI observations) to the (sub-)parsec-scale region (observable with the mid-infrared interferometer instrument and via water maser emission). Thereby, this procedure provides us with an ideal testbed for data comparison. In this work, we concentrate on the effects of a parametrized turbulent viscosity to generate angular momentum and mass transfer in the disc and additionally take star formation into account. Most of the input parameters are constrained by available observations of the nearby Seyfert 2 galaxy NGC 1068, and we discuss parameter studies for the free parameters. At the current age of its nuclear starburst of 250Myr, our simulations yield disc sizes of the order of 0.8-0.9pc, gas masses of 106Msolar and mass transfer rates of 0.025Msolaryr-1 through the inner rim of the disc. This shows that our large-scale torus model is able to approximately account for the disc size as inferred from interferometric observations in the mid-infrared and compares well to the extent and mass of a rotating disc structure as inferred from water maser observations. Several other observational constraints are discussed as well.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1801-1811
Number of pages11
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Early online date6 Apr 2010
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2010


  • accretion, accretion discs, hydrodynamics, ISM: evolution, galaxies: nuclei, galaxies: Seyfert, galaxies: structure


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