University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Cavendish Astrophysics Seminars > The cold winds of change – hot cores and molecular outflows in dusty galaxies

The cold winds of change – hot cores and molecular outflows in dusty galaxies

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Molecular gas plays a fundamental role in feeding and regulating star formation and growth of supermassive black holes (SMBH) in galaxy nuclei and is therefore a primary evolutionary parameter in starburst and AGN activity. ALMA and NOEMA are powerful new instruments for studying galaxy evolution using molecules as observational tools – exploiting their ability to trace dynamical, chemical and physical conditions. I will present recent high resolution ALMA results on vibrationally excited molecules and how they can be used to peek inside the optically thick veil of extremely obscured, Compton thick, galaxy nuclei. These lines are efficient probes even when N(H2) exceeds 1e24 cm-2 and trace nuclear disks and bars, enclosed mass inside the dusty core – and are direct measurements of the hidden mid-infrared luminosity densities. These nuclei may also drive cold molecular winds and we have studied the massive outflow of the nearby lenticular NGC1377 in exquisite detail with ALMA – revealing new surprising results on its morphology and origin. Furthermore, new ALMA spectral scans demonstrate the emerging power of astrochemistry as a tool to probe starburst and AGN evolution in obscured nuclei, AGNs and starbursts. I will discuss the astrochemistry of the obscured LIRG NGC4418 in relation to that of the nearby Seyfert galaxy NGC1068 and the ULIRG Arp220.

This talk is part of the Cavendish Astrophysics Seminars series.

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