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 Gas in early-type galaxies: cross-fuelling in late-type-early-type pairs?We present 12CO (J= 1-0) and 12CO (J= 2-1)observations of eight early-type galaxies, forming part of a sample ofinteracting galaxies, each consisting of one late- and one early-typesystem. All of the early-type galaxies observed are undetected in CO tolow levels, allowing us to place tight constraints on their moleculargas content. Additionally, we present HI absorption data for one system.The implications for possible gas transfer from the late- to theearly-type galaxy during the interaction are discussed. Optical Counterparts of Ultraluminous X-Ray SourcesWe present the optical identification and characterization ofcounterparts of four objects previously cataloged as ultraluminous X-ray(ULX) sources. The objects were selected from the E. Colbert & A.Ptak catalog. The optical counterparts are identified as pointlikeobjects with magnitudes in the range of ~17-19. The optical spectra ofthree of the sources (IXO 32, 37, and 40) show the presence of emissionlines typical of quasars. The position of these lines allows a preciseestimation of their redshifts (2.769, 0.567, and 0.789 for IXO 32, 37,and 40, respectively). The fourth X-ray source, IXO 35, is associatedwith a red object that has a spectrum typical of an M star in ourGalaxy. These identifications are useful for building clean samples ofULX sources, selecting suitable targets for future observations, andperforming statistical studies on the different populations of X-raysources. The Effects of Interactions on the Structure and Morphology of Elliptical/Lenticular Galaxies in PairsWe present a structural and photometric analysis of 42elliptical/lenticular galaxies in E/S0 + S pairs observed in the BVRIcolor bands. The aim of the analysis is to empirically determine theeffects of interactions on the galaxies' morphology, structure, andstellar populations as seen from the CAS parameters (light concentrationC, asymmetry A, and clumpiness S). We further compare these values to acontrol sample of 67 mostly isolated noninteracting E/S0 galaxies. Wefind that the paired E/S0 galaxies occupy more scattered loci in CASspace than noninteracting E/S0s and that the structural effects ofinteractions on E/S0s are minor, in contrast to disk galaxies involvedin interactions. This suggests that observational methods forrecognizing interactions, such the CAS methodology of Conselice, wouldnot detect E/S0s involved in interactions (related to early phases ofthe so-called dry mergers), and that the majority of interactinggalaxies identified at high redshift must be gas-dominated systems.However, we find statistical differences in the asymmetry index whencomparing isolated and interacting E/S0s. On average, paired E/S0galaxies have A-values 2.96+/-0.72 times larger than those ofnoninteracting E/S0s. For the subset of presumably strongly interactingE/S0s, A and S can be several times larger than the typical values ofthe isolated E/S0s. We show that the asymmetries are consistent withseveral internal and external morphological distortions. We concludethat the subsample of interacting E/S0s should be dense, gas-poorgalaxies in systems spanning a wide range of interaction stages, withtypical merging timescales >~0.1-0.5 Gyr. We use the observedphenomenology of this subsample to predict the approximate loci of drypremergers in the CAS parameter space. Toward a clean sample of ultra-luminous X-ray sourcesContext: .Observational follow-up programmes for the characterization ofultra-luminous X-ray sources (ULXs) require the construction of cleansamples of such sources in which the contamination byforeground/background sources is minimum. Aims: .We calculate thedegree of foreground/background contaminants among the ULX samplecandidates in a published catalogue and compare these computations withavailable spectroscopic identifications. Methods: .We usestatistics based on known densities of X-ray sources and AGN/QSOsselected in the optical. The analysis is done individually for eachparent galaxy. The existing identifications of the optical counterpartsare compiled from the literature. Results: .More than a half ofthe ULXs, within twice the distance of the major axis of the 25mag/arcsec2 isophote from RC3 nearby galaxies and with X-rayluminosities L_X[ 2-10 keV] ≥ 1039 erg/s, are expected tobe high redshift background QSOs. A list of 25 objects (clean sample)confirmed to be real ULXs or to have a low probability of beingcontaminant foreground/background objects is provided. The host galaxy/AGN connection in nearby early-type galaxies. A new view of the origin of the radio-quiet/radio-loud dichotomy?This is the third in a series of three papers exploring the connectionbetween the multiwavelength properties of AGN in nearby early-typegalaxies and the characteristics of their hosts. Starting from aninitial sample of 332 galaxies, we selected 116 AGN candidates requiringthe detection of a radio source with a flux limit of ~1 mJy, as measuredfrom 5 GHz VLA observations. In Paper I we classified the objects withavailable archival HST images into "core" and "power-law" galaxies,discriminating on the basis of the nuclear slope of their brightnessprofiles. We used HST and Chandra data to isolate the nuclear emissionof these galaxies in the optical and X-ray bands, thus enabling us (oncecombined with the radio data) to study the multiwavelength behaviour oftheir nuclei. The properties of the nuclei hosted by the 29 coregalaxies were presented in Paper II Core galaxies invariably host aradio-loud nucleus, with a median radio-loudness of Log R = 3.6 and anX-ray based radio-loudness parameter of Log RX = -1.3. Herewe discuss the properties of the nuclei of the 22 "power-law" galaxies.They show a substantial excess of optical and X-ray emission withrespect to core galaxies at the same level of radio luminosity.Conversely, their radio-loudness parameters, Log R  1.6 and LogRX  -3.3, are similar to those measured in Seyfertgalaxies. Thus the radio-loudness of AGN hosted by early-type galaxiesappears to be univocally related to the host's brightness profile:radio-loud AGN are only hosted by core galaxies, while radio-quiet AGNare found only in power-law galaxies. The brightness profile isdetermined by the galaxy's evolution, through its merger history; ourresults suggest that the same process sets the AGN flavour. In thisscenario, the black holes hosted by the merging galaxies rapidly sinktoward the centre of the newly formed object, setting its nuclearconfiguration, described by e.g. the total mass, spin, mass ratio, orseparation of the SMBHs. These parameters are most likely at the originof the different levels of the AGN radio-loudness. This connection mightopen a new path toward understanding the origin of theradio-loud/radio-quiet AGN dichotomy and provide us with a further toolfor exploring the co-evolution of galaxies and supermassive black holes. A radio census of nuclear activity in nearby galaxiesIn order to determine the incidence of black hole accretion-drivennuclear activity in nearby galaxies, as manifested by their radioemission, we have carried out a high-resolution Multi-ElementRadio-Linked Interferometer Network (MERLIN) survey of LINERs andcomposite LINER/Hii galaxies from a complete magnitude-limited sample ofbright nearby galaxies (Palomar sample) with unknown arcsecond-scaleradio properties. There are fifteen radio detections, of which three arenew subarcsecond-scale radio core detections, all being candidate AGN.The detected galaxies supplement the already known low-luminosity AGN -low-luminosity Seyferts, LINERs and composite LINER/Hii galaxies - inthe Palomar sample. Combining all radio-detected Seyferts, LINERs andcomposite LINER/Hii galaxies (LTS sources), we obtain an overall radiodetection rate of 54% (22% of all bright nearby galaxies) and weestimate that at least ~50% (~20% of all bright nearby galaxies) aretrue AGN. The radio powers of the LTS galaxies allow the construction ofa local radio luminosity function. By comparing the luminosity functionwith those of selected moderate-redshift AGN, selected from the 2dF/NVSSsurvey, we find that LTS sources naturally extend the RLF of powerfulAGN down to powers of about 10 times that of Sgr A*. A high-frequency radio survey of low-luminosity active galactic nucleiWe investigate the high-frequency radio spectra of 20 low-luminosityactive galactic nuclei (LLAGNs) with compact radio cores. Our millimetresurvey with the Nobeyama Millimetre Array (NMA) and analyses ofsubmillimetre archival data that had been obtained with theSubmillimetre Common User Bolometer Array (SCUBA) on the James ClerkMaxwell Telescope (JCMT) reveal the following properties. At least halfof the LLAGNs show inverted spectra between 15 and 96 GHz; we use thepublished data at 15 GHz with the Very Large Array (VLA) in a0.15-arcsec resolution and our measurements at 96 GHz with the NMA in a7-arcsec resolution. The inverted spectra are not artificially made dueto their unmatched beam sizes, because of little diffuse contaminationfrom dust, HII regions, or extended jets in these LLAGNs. Suchhigh-frequency inverted spectra are apparently consistent with asubmillimetre bump', which is predicted by an advection-dominatedaccretion flow (ADAF) model. We find a strong correlation between thehigh-frequency spectral index and low-frequency core power measured withvery-long-baseline-interferometry (VLBI) instruments. The invertedspectra are found exclusively in low-core-power sources, while steepspectra are in high-core-power ones with prominent pc-scale jets. Thissuggests that the ADAF and non-thermal jets may coexist. The flux ratiosbetween disc and jet seem to be different from LLAGN to LLAGN; disccomponents can be seen in nuclear radio spectra only if the jets arefaint. Group, field and isolated early-type galaxies - II. Global trends from nuclear dataWe have derived ages, metallicities and enhanced-element ratios[α/Fe] for a sample of 83 early-type galaxies essentially ingroups, the field or isolated objects. The stellar-population propertiesderived for each galaxy correspond to the nuclear re/8aperture extraction. The median age found for Es is 5.8+/-0.6 Gyr andthe average metallicity is +0.37+/-0.03 dex. For S0s, the median age is3.0+/-0.6 Gyr and [Z/H]= 0.53+/-0.04 dex. We compare the distribution ofour galaxies in the Hβ-[MgFe] diagram with Fornax galaxies. Ourelliptical galaxies are 3-4 Gyr younger than Es in the Fornax cluster.We find that the galaxies lie in a plane defined by [Z/H]= 0.99logσ0- 0.46 log(age) - 1.60, or in linear terms Z~σ0× (age) -0.5. More massive (largerσ0) and older galaxies present, on average, large[α/Fe] values, and therefore must have undergone shorterstar-formation time-scales. Comparing group against field/isolatedgalaxies, it is not clear that environment plays an important role indetermining their stellar-population history. In particular, ourisolated galaxies show ages differing by more than 8 Gyr. Finally weexplore our large spectral coverage to derive log(O/H) metallicity fromthe Hα and NIIλ6584 and compare it with model-dependent[Z/H]. We find that the O/H abundances are similar for all galaxies, andwe can interpret it as if most chemical evolution has already finishedin these galaxies. Group, field and isolated early-type galaxies - I. Observations and nuclear dataThis is the first paper of a series on the investigation of stellarpopulation properties and galaxy evolution of an observationallyhomogeneous sample of early-type galaxies in groups, field and isolatedgalaxies.Here we present high signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) long-slit spectroscopyof 86 nearby elliptical and S0 galaxies. Eight of them are isolated,selected according to a rigorous criterion, which guarantees a genuinelow-density subsample. The present survey has the advantage of coveringa larger wavelength range than normally found in the literature, whichincludes [OIII]λ5007 and Hα, both lines important foremission correction. Among the 86 galaxies with S/N >= 15 (perresolution element, for re/8 central aperture), 57 have theirHβ-index corrected for emission (the average correction is 0.190Åin Hβ) and 42 galaxies reveal [OIII]λ5007 emission,of which 16 also show obvious Hα emission. Most of the galaxies inthe sample do not show obvious signs of disturbances nor tidal featuresin the morphologies, although 11 belong to the Arp catalogue of peculiargalaxies; only three of them (NGC 750, 751 and 3226) seem to be stronglyinteracting. We present the measurement of 25 central line-strengthindices calibrated to the Lick/IDS system. Kinematic information isobtained for the sample. We analyse the line-strength index versusvelocity dispersion relations for our sample of mainly low-densityenvironment galaxies, and compare the slope of the relations withcluster galaxies from the literature. Our main findings are that theindex-σ0 relations presented for low-density regionsare not significantly different from those of cluster E/S0s. The slopeof the index-σ0 relations does not seem to change forearly-type galaxies of different environmental densities, but thescatter of the relations seems larger for group, field and isolatedgalaxies than for cluster galaxies. Ultraluminous X-Ray Sources in Nearby Galaxies from ROSAT High Resolution Imager Observations I. Data AnalysisX-ray observations have revealed in other galaxies a class ofextranuclear X-ray point sources with X-ray luminosities of1039-1041 ergs s-1, exceeding theEddington luminosity for stellar mass X-ray binaries. Theseultraluminous X-ray sources (ULXs) may be powered by intermediate-massblack holes of a few thousand Msolar or stellar mass blackholes with special radiation processes. In this paper, we present asurvey of ULXs in 313 nearby galaxies withD25>1' within 40 Mpc with 467 ROSAT HighResolution Imager (HRI) archival observations. The HRI observations arereduced with uniform procedures, refined by simulations that help definethe point source detection algorithm employed in this survey. A sampleof 562 extragalactic X-ray point sources withLX=1038-1043 ergs s-1 isextracted from 173 survey galaxies, including 106 ULX candidates withinthe D25 isophotes of 63 galaxies and 110 ULX candidatesbetween 1D25 and 2D25 of 64 galaxies, from which aclean sample of 109 ULXs is constructed to minimize the contaminationfrom foreground or background objects. The strong connection betweenULXs and star formation is confirmed based on the striking preference ofULXs to occur in late-type galaxies, especially in star-forming regionssuch as spiral arms. ULXs are variable on timescales over days to yearsand exhibit a variety of long term variability patterns. Theidentifications of ULXs in the clean sample show some ULXs identified assupernovae (remnants), H II regions/nebulae, or young massive stars instar-forming regions, and a few other ULXs identified as old globularclusters. In a subsequent paper, the statistic properties of the surveywill be studied to calculate the occurrence frequencies and luminosityfunctions for ULXs in different types of galaxies to shed light on thenature of these enigmatic sources. The Size of the Radio-Emitting Region in Low-Luminosity Active Galactic NucleiWe have used the VLA to study radio variability among a sample of 18low-luminosity active galactic nuclei (LLAGNs) on timescales of a fewhours to 10 days. The goal was to measure or limit the sizes of theLLAGN radio-emitting regions in order to use the size measurements asinput to models of the radio emission mechanisms in LLAGNs. We detectvariability on typical timescales of a few days at a confidence level of99% in half the target galaxies. Either variability that is intrinsic tothe radio-emitting regions or that is caused by scintillation in theGalactic interstellar medium is consistent with the data. For eitherinterpretation, the brightness temperature of the emission is below theinverse Compton limit for all our LLAGNs and has a mean value of about1010 K. The variability measurements plus VLBI upper limitsimply that the typical angular size of the LLAGN radio cores at 8.5 GHzis 0.2 mas, plus or minus a factor of 2. The ~1010 Kbrightness temperature strongly suggests that a population ofhigh-energy nonthermal electrons must be present, in addition to ahypothesized thermal population in an accretion flow, in order toproduce the observed radio emission. Nuclear Accretion in Galaxies of the Local Universe: Clues from Chandra ObservationsIn order to find an explanation for the radiative quiescence ofsupermassive black holes in the local universe, the most accurateestimates for a sample of nearby galaxies are collected for the mass ofa central black hole (MBH), the nuclear X-ray luminosityLX,nuc, and the circumnuclear hot gas density andtemperature, by using Chandra data. The nuclear X-ray luminosityLX,nuc varies by ~3 orders of magnitude and does not show arelationship with MBH or with the Bondi mass accretion rateM˙B LX,nuc is always much lower than expectedif M˙B ends in a standard accretion disk with highradiative efficiency (this instead can be the case of the active nucleusof Cen A). Radiatively inefficient accretion as in the standardadvection-dominated accretion flow (ADAF) modeling may explain the lowluminosities of a few cases; for others, the predicted luminosity isstill too high, and, in terms of Eddington-scaled quantities, it isincreasingly higher than that observed for increasingM˙B. Variants of the simple radiatively inefficientscenario including outflow and convection may reproduce the low emissionlevels observed, since the amount of matter actually accreted is reducedconsiderably. However, the most promising scenario includes feedbackfrom accretion on the surrounding gas; this has the important advantagesof naturally explaining the observed lack of relationship amongLX,nuc, MBH, and M˙B, and evadingthe problem of the fate of the material accumulating in the centralgalactic regions over cosmological times. Star Formation Histories of Nearby Elliptical Galaxies. I. Volume-Limited SampleThis work presents high signal-to-noise ratio spectroscopic observationsof a representative sample of nearby elliptical galaxies. Theseobservations provide a strong test of models for the formation ofelliptical galaxies and their star formation histories. Combining thesedata with the González data set, a volume-limited sample of 45galaxies has been defined. Results are in agreement with previousstudies: the existence of the metallicity hyperplane and the Z-plane ofTrager and coworkers is confirmed, and the distribution is clearly dueto physical variations in stellar population parameters and notmeasurement uncertainty. Trends between stellar population parametersand galaxy structural parameters suggest that angular momentum maydetermine the chemical abundance of a galaxy at a given mass. The host galaxy/AGN connection in nearby early-type galaxies. Sample selection and hosts brightness profilesThis is the first of a series of three papers exploring the connectionbetween the multiwavelength properties of AGNs in nearby early-typegalaxies and the characteristics of their hosts. We selected twosamples, both with high resolution 5 GHz VLA observations available andproviding measurements down to 1 mJy level, reaching radio-luminositiesas low as 1019 W Hz-1. We focus on the 116radio-detected galaxies as to boost the fraction of AGN with respect toa purely optically selected sample. Here we present the analysis of theoptical brightness profiles based on archival HST images, available for65 objects. We separate early-type galaxies on the basis of the slope oftheir nuclear brightness profiles, into core and power-law galaxiesfollowing the Nuker's scheme, rather than on the traditionalmorphological classification (i.e. into E and S0 galaxies). Our sampleof AGN candidates is indistinguishable, when their brightness profilesare concerned, from galaxies of similar optical luminosity but hostingweaker (or no) radio-sources. We confirm previous findings thatrelatively bright radio-sources (Lr > 1021.5 WHz-1) are uniquely associated to core galaxies. However,below this threshold in radio-luminosity core and power-law galaxiescoexist and they do not show any apparent difference in theirradio-properties. Not surprisingly, since our sample is deliberatelybiased to favour the inclusion of active galaxies, we found a higherfraction of optically nucleated galaxies. Addressing the multiwavelengthproperties of these nuclei will be the aim of the two forthcomingpapers. Radio sources in low-luminosity active galactic nuclei. IV. Radio luminosity function, importance of jet power, and radio properties of the complete Palomar sampleWe present the completed results of a high resolution radio imagingsurvey of all ( 200) low-luminosity active galactic nuclei (LLAGNs) andAGNs in the Palomar Spectroscopic Sample of all ( 488) bright northerngalaxies. The high incidences of pc-scale radio nuclei, with impliedbrightness temperatures ≳107 K, and sub-parsec jetsargue for accreting black holes in ≳50% of all LINERs andlow-luminosity Seyferts; there is no evidence against all LLAGNs beingmini-AGNs. The detected parsec-scale radio nuclei are preferentiallyfound in massive ellipticals and in type 1 nuclei (i.e. nuclei withbroad Hα emission). The radio luminosity function (RLF) of PalomarSample LLAGNs and AGNs extends three orders of magnitude below, and iscontinuous with, that of “classical” AGNs. We find marginalevidence for a low-luminosity turnover in the RLF; nevertheless LLAGNsare responsible for a significant fraction of present day massaccretion. Adopting a model of a relativistic jet from Falcke &Biermann, we show that the accretion power output in LLAGNs is dominatedby the kinetic power in the observed jets rather than the radiatedbolometric luminosity. The Palomar LLAGNs and AGNs follow the samescaling between jet kinetic power and narrow line region (NLR)luminosity as the parsec to kilo-parsec jets in powerful radio galaxies.Eddington ratios {l_Edd} (=L_Emitted/L_Eddington) of≤10-1{-}10-5 are implied in jet models of theradio emission. We find evidence that, in analogy to Galactic black holecandidates, LINERs are in a “low/hard” state (gas poornuclei, low Eddington ratio, ability to launch collimated jets) whilelow-luminosity Seyferts are in a “high” state (gas richnuclei, higher Eddington ratio, less likely to launch collimated jets).In addition to dominating the radiated bolometric luminosity of thenucleus, the radio jets are energetically more significant thansupernovae in the host galaxies, and are potentially able to depositsufficient energy into the innermost parsecs to significantly slow thegas supply to the accretion disk. A catalogue of ultraluminous X-ray sources in external galaxiesWe present a catalogue of ultraluminous X-ray sources (ULXs) in externalgalaxies. The aim of this catalogue is to provide easy access to theproperties of ULXs, their possible counterparts at other wavelengths(optical, IR, and radio), and their host galaxies. The cataloguecontains 229 ULXs reported in the literature until April 2004. Most ULXsare stellar-mass-black hole X-ray binaries, but it is not excluded thatsome ULXs could be intermediate-mass black holes. A small fraction ofthe candidate ULXs may be background Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) andSupernova Remnants (SNRs). ULXs with luminosity above 1040ergs s-1 are found in both starburst galaxies and in thehalos of early-type galaxies.Table 1 is only available in electronic form at the CDS via anonymousftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (130.79.128.5) or viahttp://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/cgi-bin/qcat?J/A+A/429/1125 Measuring shapes of galaxy images - II. Morphology of 2MASS galaxiesWe study a sample of 112 galaxies of various Hubble types imaged in theTwo Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS) in the near-infrared (NIR; 1-2 μm)J, H and Ks bands. The sample contains (optically classified)32 ellipticals, 16 lenticulars and 64 spirals acquired from the 2MASSExtended Source Catalogue (XSC).We use a set of non-parametric shape measures constructed from theMinkowski functionals (MFs) for galaxy shape analysis. We useellipticity (ɛ) and orientation angle (Φ) as shapediagnostics. With these parameters as functions of area within theisophotal contour, we note that the NIR elliptical galaxies withɛ > 0.2 show a trend of being centrally spherical andincreasingly flattened towards the edge, a trend similar to images inoptical wavelengths. The highly flattened elliptical galaxies showstrong change in ellipticity between the centre and the edge. Thelenticular galaxies show morphological properties resembling eitherellipticals or disc galaxies. Our analysis shows that almost half of thespiral galaxies appear to have bar-like features while the rest arelikely to be non-barred. Our results also indicate that almost one-thirdof spiral galaxies have optically hidden bars.The isophotal twist noted in the orientations of elliptical galaxiesdecreases with the flattening of these galaxies, indicating that twistand flattening are also anticorrelated in the NIR, as found in opticalwavelengths. The orientations of NIR lenticular and spiral galaxies showa wide range of twists. Nuclear activity and the dynamics of elliptical galaxiesThis Letter looks for any correlation between the internal dynamics ofelliptical galaxies and the relatively mild nuclear activity found inmany such systems. We show that there is such a relation in the sensethat the active ellipticals tend to be significantly less rotationallysupported than their inactive cousins. The correlation can partly berelated to the galaxies' luminosities: the brightest galaxies tend to bemore active and less rotationally supported. However, even at lowerluminosities the active and inactive galaxies seem to havesystematically different dynamics. This variation suggests that thereare significant large-scale structural differences between active andinactive elliptical galaxies, and hence that the existence of both typesof system cannot just be the result of random sporadic nuclear activity. Supernova 2002bo: inadequacy of the single parameter descriptionWe present optical/near-infrared photometry and spectra of the type IaSN 2002bo spanning epochs from -13 d before maximum B-band light to +102d after. The pre-maximum optical coverage is particularly complete. Theextinction deduced from the observed colour evolution and frominterstellar Na I D absorption is quite high, namely E(B-V) = 0.43 +/-0.10. On the other hand, model matches to the observed spectra point toa lower reddening [E(B-V) ~ 0.30]. In some respects, SN 2002bo behavesas a typical Branch normal' type Ia supernova (SN Ia) at optical andinfrared wavelengths. We find a B-band risetime of 17.9 +/- 0.5 d, aΔm15(B) of 1.13 +/- 0.05, and a dereddenedMB=-19.41 +/- 0.42. However, comparison with other type Iasupernovae having similar Δm15(B) values indicates thatin other respects SN 2002bo is unusual. While the optical spectra of SN2002bo are very similar to those of SN 1984A [Δm15(B) =1.19], lower velocities and a generally more structured appearance arefound in SNe 1990N, 1994D and 1998bu. For supernovae havingΔm15(B) > 1.2, we confirm the variation of withΔm15(B). However, for supernovae such as SN 2002bo,with lower values of Δm15(B) the relation breaks down.Moreover, the evolution of for SN 2002bo is strikingly different fromthat shown by other type Ia supernovae. The velocities of SN 2002bo and1984A derived from S II 5640 Å, Si II 6355 Å and Ca II H andK lines are either much higher and/or evolve differently from those seenin other normal SNe Ia events. Thus, while SN 2002bo and SN 1984A appearto be highly similar, they exhibit behaviour which is distinctlydifferent from other SNe Ia having similar Δm15(B)values. We suggest that the unusually low temperature, the presence ofhigh-velocity intermediate-mass elements and the low abundance of carbonat early times indicates that burning to Si penetrated to much higherlayers than in more normal type Ia supernovae. This may be indicative ofa delayed detonation explosion. Fire and Ice: Spitzer Infrared Spectrograph (IRS) Mid-Infrared Spectroscopy of IRAS F00183-7111We report the detection of strong absorption and weak emission featuresin the 4-27 μm Spitzer Infrared Spectrograph (IRS) spectrum of thedistant ultraluminous infrared galaxy IRAS F00183-7111 (z=0.327). Theabsorption features of CO2 and CO gas, water ice,hydrocarbons, and silicates are indicative of a strongly obscured(A9.6>=5.4 AV>=90) and complex line of sightthrough both the hot diffuse interstellar medium and shielded coldmolecular clouds toward the nuclear power source. From the profile ofthe 4.67 μm CO fundamental vibration mode, we deduce that theabsorbing gas is dense (n~106 cm-3) and warm (720K) and has a CO column density of ~1019.5 cm-2,equivalent to NH~1023.5 cm-2. The hightemperature and density, as well as the small inferred size (<0.03pc), locates this absorbing gas close to the power source of thisregion. Weak emission features of molecular hydrogen, polycyclicaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and Ne+, likely associated withstar formation, are detected against the 9.7 μm silicate feature,indicating an origin away from the absorbing region. Based on the 11.2μm PAH flux, we estimate the star formation component to beresponsible for up to 30% of the IR luminosity of the system. While ourmid-infrared spectrum shows no telltale signs of active galactic nucleus(AGN) activity, the similarities to the mid-infrared spectra of deeplyobscured sources (e.g., NGC 4418) and AGN hot dust (e.g., NGC 1068), aswell as evidence from other wavelength regions, suggest that the powersource hiding behind the optically thick dust screen may well be aburied AGN. The Unusual Tidal Dwarf Candidate in the Merger System NGC 3227/3226: Star Formation in a Tidal Shock?We report the discovery of active star formation in the H I cloudassociated with the interacting Seyfert system NGC 3227/3226 that wasoriginally identified as a candidate tidal dwarf galaxy (TDG) by Mundellet al. and that we name J1023+1952. We present broadband optical B, R, I(from the Isaac Newton Telescope), and ultraviolet images (fromXMM-Newton) that show that the H I cloud is associated with massiveongoing star formation seen as a cluster of blue knots(MB<~-15.5 mag) surrounded by a diffuse ultraviolet haloand cospatial with a ridge of high neutral hydrogen column density(NH~3.7×1021 cm-2) in thesouthern half of the cloud. We also detect Hα emission from theknots with a flux density ofFHα~2.55×10-14 ergs s-1cm-2 corresponding to a star formation rate ofSFR(Hα)~10.6×10-3 Msolaryr-1. J1023+1952 lies at the base of the northern tidal tail,and, although it spatially overlaps the edge of the disk of NGC 3227,Mundell et al. showed that the H I cloud is kinematically distinct withan H I mean velocity 150 km s-1 higher than that of NGC 3227.Comparison of ionized (Hα) and neutral (H I) gas kinematics of thecloud shows closely matched recessional velocities, providing strongevidence that the star-forming knots are embedded in J1023+1952 and arenot merely optical knots in the background disk of NGC 3227, thusconfirming J1023+1952 as a gas-rich (MH/LB>1.5)dwarf galaxy. No star formation is detected in the northern half of thecloud, despite similar H I column densities; instead, our newhigh-resolution H I image shows a ridge of high column densitycoincident with the reddest structures evident in our B-I image. Wesuggest that these structures are caused by the background stellarcontinuum from the disk of NGC 3227 being absorbed by dust intrinsic toJ1023+1952, thus placing J1023+1952 in front of NGC 3227 along the lineof sight. We discuss two scenarios for the origin of J1023+1952: as athird, preexisting dwarf galaxy involved in the interaction with NGC3227 and NGC 3226, or as a newly forming dwarf galaxy condensing out ofthe tidal debris removed from the gaseous disk of NGC 3227. The firstscenario is feasible given that NGC 3227 is the brightest member of agalaxy group, an environment in which preexisting dwarf galaxies areexpected to be common. However, the lack of a detectable old stellarpopulation in J1023+1952 makes a tidal origin more likely. If J1023+1952is a bound object forming from returning gaseous tidal tail material,its unusual location at the base of the northern tail implies adynamically young age similar to its star formation age, and suggests itis in the earliest stages of TDG evolution. Whatever the origin ofJ1023+1952, we suggest that its star formation is shock-triggered bycollapsing tidal debris. POX 52: A Dwarf Seyfert 1 Galaxy with an Intermediate-Mass Black HoleWe describe new optical images and spectra of POX 52, a dwarf galaxywith an active nucleus that was originally detected in the POXobjective-prism survey. While POX 52 was originally thought to be aSeyfert 2 galaxy, the new data reveal an emission-line spectrum verysimilar to that of the dwarf Seyfert 1 galaxy NGC 4395, with broadcomponents to the permitted line profiles, and we classify POX 52 as aSeyfert 1 galaxy. The host galaxy appears to be a dwarf elliptical, andits brightness profile is best fit by a Sérsic model with anindex of 3.6+/-0.2 and a total magnitude of MV=-17.6.Applying mass-luminosity-line width scaling relations to estimate theblack hole mass from the broad Hβ line width and nonstellarcontinuum luminosity, we findMBH~1.6×105Msolar. The stellarvelocity dispersion in the host galaxy, measured from the Ca IIλ8498, 8542 lines, is 36+/-5 km s-1, also suggestiveof a black hole mass of order 105Msolar. Furthersearches for active nuclei in dwarf galaxies can provide uniqueconstraints on the demographics of black holes in the mass range below106Msolar. Galaxy Interaction and the Starburst-Seyfert ConnectionGalaxy interactions are studied in terms of the starburst-Seyfertconnection. The starburst requires a high rate of gas supply. Since theefficiency for supplying the gas is high in a galaxy interaction,although the companion is not necessarily discernible, Seyfert galaxieswith circumnuclear starbursts are expected to be interacting. Since thelarge amounts of circumnuclear gas and dust obscure the broad-lineregion, they are expected to be observed as Seyfert 2 galaxies. Theactive galactic nucleus itself does not require a high rate of gassupply. Seyfert galaxies without circumnuclear starbursts are notnecessarily expected to be interacting even at the highest luminosities.They are not necessarily expected to evolve from Seyfert galaxies withcircumnuclear starbursts. We derive these and other theoreticalexpectations and confirm them with statistics on observational data ofmagnitude-limited samples of Seyfert galaxies. The Stellar Populations of Low-Luminosity Active Galactic Nuclei. II. Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph ObservationsWe present a study of the stellar populations of low-luminosity activegalactic nuclei (LLAGNs). Our goal is to search for spectroscopicsignatures of young and intermediate-age stars and to investigate theirrelationship with the ionization mechanism in LLAGNs. The method used isbased on the stellar population synthesis of the optical continuum ofthe innermost (20-100 pc) regions in these galaxies. For this purpose,we have collected high spatial resolution optical (2900-5700 Å)STIS spectra of 28 nearby LLAGNs that are available in the Hubble SpaceTelescope archive. The analysis of these data is compared with a similaranalysis also presented here for 51 ground-based spectra of LLAGNs. Ourmain findings are as follows: (1) No features due to Wolf-Rayet starswere convincingly detected in the STIS spectra. (2) Young starscontribute very little to the optical continuum in the ground-basedaperture. However, the fraction of light provided by these stars ishigher than 10% in most of the weak-[O I] ([OI]/Hα<=0.25) LLAGNSTIS spectra. (3) Intermediate-age stars contribute significantly to theoptical continuum of these nuclei. This population is more frequent inobjects with weak than with strong [O I]. Weak-[O I] LLAGNs that haveyoung stars stand out for their intermediate-age population. (4) Most ofthe strong-[O I] LLAGNs have predominantly old stellar population. A fewof these objects also show a featureless continuum that contributessignificantly to the optical continuum. These results suggest that youngand intermediate-age stars do not play a significant role in theionization of LLAGNs with strong [O I]. However, the ionization inweak-[O I] LLAGNs with young and/or intermediate-age populations couldbe due to stellar processes. A comparison of the properties of theseobjects with Seyfert 2 galaxies that harbor a nuclear starburst suggeststhat weak-[O I] LLAGNs are the lower luminosity counterparts of theSeyfert 2 composite nuclei.Based on observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtainedat the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by theAssociation of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASAcontract NAS 5-26555. Based on observations made with the Nordic OpticalTelescope (NOT), operated on the island of La Palma jointly by Denmark,Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, in the Spanish Observatorio delRoque de los Muchachos of the Instituto de Astrofísica deCanarias. The Stellar Populations of Low-Luminosity Active Galactic Nuclei. I. Ground-based ObservationsWe present a spectroscopic study of the stellar populations oflow-luminosity active galactic nuclei (LLAGNs). Our main goal is todetermine whether the stars that live in the innermost (100 pc scale)regions of these galaxies are in some way related to the emission-lineproperties, which would imply a link between the stellar population andthe ionization mechanism. High signal-to-noise ratio, ground-basedlong-slit spectra in the 3500-5500 Å interval were collected for60 galaxies: 51 LINERs and LINER/H II transition objects, two starburstgalaxies, and seven nonactive galaxies. In this paper, the first of aseries, we (1) describe the sample; (2) present the nuclear spectra; (3)characterize the stellar populations of LLAGNs by means of an empiricalcomparison with normal galaxies; (4) measure a set of spectral indices,including several absorption-line equivalent widths and colorsindicative of stellar populations; and (5) correlate the stellar indiceswith emission-line ratios that may distinguish between possibleexcitation sources for the gas. Our main findings are as follows: (1)Few LLAGNs have a detectable young (<~107 yr) starburstcomponent, indicating that very massive stars do not contributesignificantly to the optical continuum. In particular, no features dueto Wolf-Rayet stars were convincingly detected. (2) High-order Balmerabsorption lines of H I (HOBLs), on the other hand, are detected in ~40%of LLAGNs. These features, which are strongest in108-109 yr intermediate-age stellar populations,are accompanied by diluted metal absorption lines and bluer colors thanother objects in the sample. (3) These intermediate-age populations arevery common (~50%) in LLAGNs with relatively weak [O I] emission([OI]/Hα<=0.25) but rare (~10%) in LLAGNs with stronger [O I].This is intriguing since LLAGNs with weak [O I] have been previouslyhypothesized to be transition objects'' in which both an AGN and youngstars contribute to the emission-line excitation. Massive stars, ifpresent, are completely outshone by intermediate-age and old stars inthe optical. This happens in at least a couple of objects whereindependent UV spectroscopy detects young starbursts not seen in theoptical. (4) Objects with predominantly old stars span the whole rangeof [O I]/Hα values, but (5) sources with significant young and/orintermediate-age populations are nearly all (~90%) weak-[O I] emitters.These new findings suggest a link between the stellar populations andthe gas ionization mechanism. The strong-[O I] objects are most likelytrue LLAGNs, with stellar processes being insignificant. However, theweak-[O I] objects may comprise two populations, one where theionization is dominated by stellar processes and another where it isgoverned by either an AGN or a more even mixture of stellar and AGNprocesses. Possible stellar sources for the ionization include weakstarbursts, supernova remnants, and evolved poststarburst populations.These scenarios are examined and constrained by means of complementaryobservations and detailed modeling of the stellar populations inforthcoming communications.Based on observations made with the Nordic Optical Telescope, operatedon the island of La Palma jointly by Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway,and Sweden, in the Spanish Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos ofthe Instituto de Astrofísica de Canárias. Optical and Infrared Photometry of the Type Ia Supernovae 1991T, 1991bg, 1999ek, 2001bt, 2001cn, 2001cz, and 2002boWe present optical and/or infrared photometry of the Type Ia supernovaeSN 1991T, SN 1991bg, SN 1999ek, SN 2001bt, SN 2001cn, SN 2001cz, and SN2002bo. All but one of these supernovae have decline rate parameters,Δm15(B), close to the median value of 1.1 for the wholeclass of Type Ia supernovae. The addition of these supernovae to therelationship between the near-infrared absolute magnitudes andΔm15(B) strengthens the previous relationships we havefound in that the maximum light absolute magnitudes are essentiallyindependent of the decline rate parameter. (SN 1991bg, the prototype ofthe subclass of fast-declining Type Ia supernovae, is a special case.)The dispersion in the Hubble diagram in JHK is only ~0.15 mag. Thenear-infrared properties of Type Ia supernovae continue to be excellentmeasures of the luminosity distances to the supernova host galaxiesbecause of the need for only small corrections from the epoch ofobservation to maximum light, low dispersion in absolute magnitudes atmaximum light, and the minimal reddening effects in the near-infrared. Dust and Ionized Gas in Nine Nearby Early-Type Galaxies Imaged with the Hubble Space Telescope Advanced Camera for SurveysWe present V and I continuum images and Hα+[N II] maps of nineearly-type galaxies observed with the Wide Field Channel of the AdvancedCamera for Surveys on the Hubble Space Telescope. Dust and ionized gasare detected in all galaxies. The optical nebulae are primarilyconcentrated on the nuclei and extend out to radii of a few hundredparsecs in compact clumps, filaments, or disks. Two galaxies, NGC 6166and NGC 6338, also possess diffuse, ionized filaments on kiloparsecscales. The ionized gas is entirely contained within the nuclear disksof ESO 208-G021, NGC 3078, and NGC 7720. In the radio-loud galaxy NGC6166, emission-line filaments are detected along the radio lobes,possibly as a result of shock ionization. A wide range of ionized gasmasses, Mg~7×102-3×106Msolar, are calculated from the observed fluxes. Even in thissmall sample, the orientation of the ionized material correlates wellwith the major or minor axis of the galaxies, consistent with anexternal origin for the dust and gas.Based on observations made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope,which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research inAstronomy (AURA), Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555. An IRAS High Resolution Image Restoration (HIRES) Atlas of All Interacting Galaxies in the IRAS Revised Bright Galaxy SampleThe importance of far-infrared observations for our understanding ofextreme activity in interacting and merging galaxies has beenillustrated by many studies. Even though two decades have passed sinceits launch, the most complete all-sky survey to date from which far-IRselected galaxy samples can be chosen is still that of the InfraredAstronomical Satellite (IRAS). However, the spatial resolution of theIRAS all-sky survey is insufficient to resolve the emission fromindividual galaxies in most interacting galaxy pairs, and hence previousstudies of their far-IR properties have had to concentrate either onglobal system properties or on the properties of very widely separatedand weakly interacting pairs. Using the HIRES image reconstructiontechnique, it is possible to achieve a spatial resolution ranging from30" to 1.5m (depending on wavelength and detector coverage), whichis a fourfold improvement over the normal resolution of IRAS. This issufficient to resolve the far-IR emission from the individual galaxiesin many interacting systems detected by IRAS, which is very importantfor meaningful comparisons with single, isolated galaxies. We presenthigh-resolution 12, 25, 60, and 100 μm images of 106 interactinggalaxy systems contained in the IRAS Revised Bright Galaxy Sample (RBGS,Sanders et al.), a complete sample of all galaxies having a 60 μmflux density greater than 5.24 Jy. These systems were selected to haveat least two distinguishable galaxies separated by less than threeaverage galactic diameters, and thus we have excluded very widelyseparated systems and very advanced mergers. Additionally, some systemshave been included that are more than three galactic diameters apart,yet have separations less than 4' and are thus likely to suffer fromconfusion in the RBGS. The new complete survey has the same propertiesas the prototype survey of Surace et al. We find no increased tendencyfor infrared-bright galaxies to be associated with other infrared-brightgalaxies among the widely separated pairs studied here. We find smallenhancements in far-IR activity in multiple galaxy systems relative toRBGS noninteracting galaxies with the same blue luminosity distribution.We also find no differences in infrared activity (as measured byinfrared color and luminosity) between late- and early-type spiralgalaxies. Peculiarities and populations in elliptical galaxies. I. An old question revisitedMorphological peculiarities, as defined from isophote asymmetries andnumber of detected shells, jets or similar features, have been estimatedin a sample of 117 E classified galaxies, and qualified by an ad hocΣ2 index. The overall frequency of peculiar'' objects(Pec subsample) is 32.5%. It decreases with the cosmic density of theenvironment, being minimal for the Virgo cluster, the densestenvironment in the sampled volume. This environmental effect is strongerfor galaxies with relatively large Σ2.The Pec subsample objects are compared with normal'' objects (Nopsubsample) as regards their basic properties. Firstly, theysystematically deviate from the Fundamental Plane and the Faber-Jacksonrelation derived for the Nop subsample, being too bright for their mass.Secondly, the dust content of galaxies, as estimated from IRAS fluxes,are similar in both subsamples. Third, the same is true of the frequencyof Kinematically Distinct cores (KDC), suggesting that KDC andmorphological peculiarities do not result from the same events in thehistory of E-galaxies.Using the Nop sample alone, we obtain very tight reference relationsbetween stellar population indicators (U-B, B-V, B-R, V-I,Mg2, Hβ, , Mgb) and the central velocitydispersion σ0. The discussion of the residuals of theserelations allows us to classify the Pec galaxies in two families i.e.the YP or NGC 2865 family, and the NP or NGC 3923 one. Galaxies in thefirst group show consistent evidence for a younger stellar populationmixed with the old one, in agreement with classical results (Schweizeret al. \cite{Schweizer1990}; Schweizer & Seitzer\cite{Schweizer1992}). The second group, however, has normal, orreddish, populations. It is remarkable that a fraction (circa 40%) ofmorphologically perturbed objects do not display any signature of ayoung population, either because the event responsible for thepecularity is too ancient, or because it did not produce significantstar formation (or eventually that the young sub-population has highmetallicity).A preliminary attempt is made to interpret the populations of Pecobjects by combining a young Single Stellar Population with a Nopgalaxy, with only limited success, perhaps largely due to uncertaintiesin the SSP indices used.Based in part on observations collected at the Observatoire deHaute-Provence.Figures \ref{fig1}-\ref{fig3} are only available in electronic form athttp://www.edpsciences.orgTable 10 is only available in electronic form at the CDS via anonymousftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (130.79.128.5) or viahttp://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/cgi-bin/qcat?J/A+A/423/833 XMM-Newton observations of the dwarf elliptical galaxy NGC 3226We report on an XMM-Newton observation of the dwarf elliptical galaxyNGC 3226 performed in November 2000. The analysis of the 0.4-10 keVspectrum of its nucleus is consistent with a power law continuum(Γ ≈ 1.96) absorbed at low energies by neutral gas (with ahydrogen column density NH ≈ 3-8× 1021cm-2 and a covering fraction greater than 85%) and by weaklyionized gas (NW ≈ 4-6 × 1021cm-2 with ξ ≈ 1-7 erg s-1 cm). However, thestudy indicates that a bremstrahlung model absorbed by neutral materialis a better description reminiscent of the X-ray emission fromadvection-dominated accretion flows (ADAFs). The temperature of thebest fit bremstrahlung model (T ≈ 10 8 K) and the absenceof short and mid time-scale variability suggests that the X-ray emissionoriginates from regions relatively far from the nucleus as inconvection-dominated accretion flows (CDAFs) or in the so-calledwind'' models. By comparing the 2-10 keV luminosity of the centralobject (LX = 2.58 × 10 40 erg s-1after correction from Galactic and intrinsic absorption) with radio fluxmeasurements, we find a mass in the range (1.7-50) × 107 Mȯ for the accreting black hole, a valuecomparable with an independent estimate from the dispersion of radialvelocities. We argue that the dwarf elliptical galaxy NGC 3226 mayharbor a sub-Eddington, super-massive black hole in a radiativeinefficient state which is distinct from the near-Eddington, thermallydominated black holes presumably found in quasars and luminous Seyfertgalaxies.
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