Near-infrared long-slit spectra of Seyfert galaxies: gas excitation across the central kiloparsec

December 2013 • 2013A&A...560A..99V

Authors • van der Laan, T. P. R. • Schinnerer, E. • Böker, T. • Armus, L.

Abstract • Context. The excitation of the gas phase of the interstellar medium can be driven by various mechanisms. In galaxies with an active nucleus, such as Seyfert galaxies, both radiative and mechanical energy from the central black hole, or the stars in the disk surrounding it may play a role.
Aims: We investigate the relative importance and range of influence of the active galactic nucleus for the excitation of ionized and molecular gas in the central kiloparsec of its host galaxy.
Methods: We present H- and K-band long-slit spectra for a sample of 21 nearby (D < 70 Mpc) Seyfert galaxies obtained with the NIRSPEC instrument on the Keck telescope. For each galaxy, we fit the nebular line emission, stellar continua, and warm molecular gas as a function of distance from the nucleus.
Results: Our analysis does not reveal a clear difference between the nucleus proper and off-nuclear environment in terms of excitation mechanisms, suggesting that the influence of an AGN reaches far into the disk of the host galaxy. The radial variations in emission line ratios indicate that, while local mechanisms do affect the gas excitation, they are often averaged out when measuring over extended regions.

The data presented herein were obtained at the W. M. Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the W. M. Keck Foundation.Table 4 and Appendix A are available in electronic form at http://www.aanda.orgThe fully calibrated long-slit spectra and fitting are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to ( or via


IPAC Authors


Lee Armus

Senior Scientist