Short timescale variations of the Hα double-peaked profile of the nucleus of NGC1097

Jaderson S. Schimoia, Thaisa Storchi-Bergmann, Rodrigo S. Nemmen, Cláudia Winge, Michael Eracleous

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The broad (FWHM 10,000kms-1) double-peaked Hα profile from the LINER/Seyfert 1 nucleus of NGC1097 was discovered in 1991 and monitored for the following 11 years. The profile showed variations attributed to the rotation of gas in a non-axisymmetric Keplerian accretion disk, ionized by a varying radiatively inefficient accretion flow (RIAF) located in the inner parts of the disk. We present and model 11 new spectroscopic observations of the double-peaked profile taken between 2010 March and 2011 March. This series of observations was motivated by the finding that in 2010 March the flux in the double-peaked line was again strong, indeed, in 2010 December, even stronger than in the observations of a decade ago. We also discovered shorter timescale variations than in the previous observations: (1) the first, of 7days, is interpreted as due to "reverberation" of the variation of the ionizing source luminosity, and the timescale of 7days as the light crossing time between the source and the accretion disk; this new timescale and its interpretation provides a distance between the emitting gas and the supermassive black hole and as such introduces a new constraint on its mass; (2) the second, of 5 months, was attributed to the rotation of a spiral arm in the disk, which was found to occur on the dynamical timescale. We use two accretion disk models to fit theoretical profiles to the new data, both having non-axisymmetric emissivities produced by the presence of an one-armed spiral. Our modeling constrains the rotation period for the spiral to be 18months. This work supports our previous conclusion that the broad double-peaked Balmer emission lines in NGC1097 - and probably also in other low-luminosity active nuclei - originate from an accretion disk ionized by a central RIAF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number145
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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