Capturing dual AGN activity and kiloparsec-scale outflows in IRAS 20210+1121

Saturni, F. G.; Vietri, G.; Piconcelli, E.; Vignali, C.; Bischetti, M.; Bongiorno, A.; Cazzoli, S.; Feruglio, C.; Fiore, F.; Husemann, B.; Ramos Almeida, C.
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Astronomy and Astrophysics

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The most standard scenario for the evolution of massive galaxies across cosmic time assumes a correspondence based on the interplay between active galactic nuclei (AGN) feedback, which injects large amounts of energy into the host environment, and galaxy mergers, with their ability to trigger massive star formation events and accretion onto supermassive black holes. Interacting systems hosting AGN are useful laboratories for obtaining key insights into both phenomena. In this context, we present an analysis of the optical spectral properties of IRAS 20210+1121 (I20210), a merging system at z = 0.056. According to X-ray data, this object comprises two interacting galaxies, each hosting an obscured AGN. The optical spectra confirm the presence of AGN features in both galaxies. In particular, we are able to provide a Seyfert classification for I20210 North. The spectrum of I20120 South shows broad blueshifted components associated with the most intense emission lines that indicate the presence of an ionized outflow, for which we derive a maximum velocity of ∼2000 km s−1, an extension of ∼2 kpc, and a mass rate of ∼0.6 M⊙ yr−1. We also report the existence of an ionized nebular component with v ∼ 1000 km s−1 at ∼6.5 kpc southwards of I20210 South, which can be interpreted as disrupted gas ejected from the host galaxy by the action of the outflow. I20120 therefore exhibits a double obscured AGN, with one of them showing evidence of ongoing events for AGN-powered outflows. Future spatially resolved spectroscopy will allow for an accurate mapping of the gas kinematics in this AGN pair and evaluate the impact of the outflow on both the interstellar medium and the galaxy environment.
Related projects
Supermassive black holes modify the distribution of molecular gas in the central regions of galaxies. Credit: HST and C. Ramos Almeida.
Nuclear Activity in Galaxies: a 3D Perspective from the Nucleus to the Outskirts

This project consists of two main research lines. First, the study of quasar-driven outflows in luminous and nearby obscured active galactic nuclei (AGN) and the impact that they have on their massive host galaxies (AGN feedback). To do so, we have obtained Gran Telescopio CANARIAS (GTC) infrared and optical observations with the instruments

Ramos Almeida