Double-peaked broad emission lines in NGC 4450 and other LINERs

Luis C. Ho, Greg Rudnick, Hans Walter Rix, Joseph C. Shields, Daniel H. Mcintosh, Alexei V. Filippenko, Wallace L.W. Sargent, Michael Eracleous

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Spectra taken with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) reveal that NGC 4450 emits Balmer emission lines with displaced double peaks and extremely high velocity wings. This characteristic line profile, previously seen in a few nearby LINERs and in a small fraction of broad-line radio galaxies, can be interpreted as a kinematic signature of a relativistic accretion disk. We can reproduce the observed profile with a model for a disk with a radial range of 1000-2000 gravitational radii and inclined by 27° along the line of sight. The small-aperture HST data also allow us to detect, for the first time, the featureless continuum at optical wavelengths in NGC 4450; the nonstellar nucleus is intrinsically very faint, with MB = -11.2 mag for D = 16.8 Mpc. We have examined the multiwavelength properties of NGC 4450 collectively with those of other low-luminosity active nuclei that possess double-peaked broad lines and find a number of common features. These objects are all classified spectroscopically as "type 1" LINERs or closely related objects. The nuclear luminosities are low, both in absolute terms and relative to the Eddington rates. All of them have compact radio cores, whose strength relative to the optical nuclear emission places them in the league of radio-loud active nuclei. The broadband spectral energy distributions of these sources are most notable for their deficit of ultraviolet emission compared to those observed in luminous Seyfert 1 nuclei and quasars. The double-peaked broad-line radio galaxies Arp 102B and Pictor A have very similar attributes. We discuss how these characteristics can be understood in the context of advection-dominated accretion onto massive black holes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-125
Number of pages6
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART 1
StatePublished - Sep 20 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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