NOEMA observations support a recoiling black hole in 3C 186

May 2022 • 2022A&A...661L...2C

Authors • Castignani, G. • Meyer, E. • Chiaberge, M. • Combes, F. • Morishita, T. • Decarli, R. • Capetti, A. • Dotti, M. • Tremblay, G. R. • Norman, C. A.

Abstract • 3C 186 is a powerful radio-loud quasar (a quasi-stellar object) at the center of a cool-core cluster at z = 1.06. Previous studies have reported evidence for a projected spatial offset of ∼1″ between the isophotal center of the galaxy and the point-source quasi-stellar object (QSO) as well as a spectral shift of ∼2000 km s−1 between the narrow and broad line region of the system. In this work we report high-resolution molecular gas CO(4→3) observations of the system taken with the NOEMA interferometer. We clearly detect a large reservoir of molecular gas, MH2 ∼ 8 × 1010 M, that is co-spatial with the host galaxy and likely associated with a rotating disk-like structure. We firmly confirm both the spatial offset of the galaxy's gas reservoir with respect to the continuum emission of the QSO and the spectral offset with respect to the redshift of the broad line region. Our morphological and kinematical analysis confirms that the most likely scenario to explain the 3C 186 system is that the QSO is a kicked super-massive black hole (SMBH), which we believe may have resulted from a strong gravitational wave recoil as two SMBHs coalesced after the merger of their host galaxies.


IPAC Authors


Takahiro Morishita

Assistant Scientist