Inclined gas disks in the lenticular seyfert galaxy NGC 5252

Jon A. Morse, Gerald Cecil, Andrew S. Wilson, Zlatan Tsvetanov

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We discuss the morphology and kinematics of the extended gas in the type 2 Seyfert galaxy NGC 5252 based on Bubble Space Telescope (HST) WFPC2 continuum and emission-line images (including a new [O III] λ5007 image) and a ground-based Fabry-Perot (F-P) velocity map of the ionized gas. The fine-scale morphology of the ionized gas in this galaxy's very extended (∼40 kpc) ionization bicone consists of a complex network of filamentary strands. The new WFPC2 [O in] image also reveals more detail in the circumnuclear (∼3 kpc) gas disk than is seen in the Hα + [N n] image presented previously by Tsvetanov and coworkers. The F-P velocity map shows an obvious antisymmetry of the velocity field of the ionized gas across the nucleus. We conclude that there are three dynamical components to the extended gas in NGC 5252. Two of these components are gas disks aligned with the stellar disk, one rotating with the stars and the other counterrotating. The third component is the circumnuclear gas disk seen in the HST observations and its extension to larger scales; this disk has an inclination of ∼40° and a kinematic major axis in P.A. ∼ 90°-135°, some 80°-125° from the major axis of the stellar disk. This simple model of two inclined rotating disks, superposed along the line of sight, describes well the seemingly complex kinematics observed in the optical emission lines and the H i 21 cm radio maps. The large misalignment between the second disk and the stellar disk suggests that the gas distribution, and possibly the nuclear activity, in NGC 5252 may have resulted from a galaxy merger event. The absence of significant radial motions, together with the well-defined ionization cones, strongly suggests that the gas is photoionized by a compact nuclear source rather than being ionized in situ by shock waves in a large-scale outflow.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-173
Number of pages15
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART I
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes



  • Galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD
  • Galaxies: kinematics and dynamics
  • Galaxies: seyfert
  • Galaxies: structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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