PACS spectrum of the active galaxy Mrk 231

Nhsc_nhsc2009-021f_1024

nhsc_nhsc2009-021f November 27th, 2009

Credit: ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech

This is one of the early spectra obtained with the PACS integral field spectrometer on Herschel. Shown here is a spectral scan of one of the emission lines detected by PACS in the Ultraluminous Infrared Galaxy (ULIRG) known as Markarian 231.

PACS has detected a weak emission line, never before detected in a ULIRG, originating from neutral oxygen located in the interstellar medium of this galaxy. Its ratio with a stronger line of ionized carbon is a good diagnostic of the power source and the conditions in the interstellar medium of the galaxy.

Previous infrared space missions discovered that collisions and mergers of gas-rich galaxies glow with the luminosity of a quasar. The far-infrared luminosity of these dust-shrouded mergers, known as Ultraluminous Infrared Galaxies (ULIRGs), is caused by extremely energetic starbursts, producing hundreds of new stars every year, as well as by accreting super-massive black holes in their active nuclei.

In addition to immense continuum and strong molecular line emission, starburst galaxies also emit weak far-infrared spectral lines. This line emission from different atoms and ions is a signature from the neutral and ionized interstellar medium in galaxies and is important to diagnose the dust-enshrouded power sources in ULIRGs.

Markarian (Mrk) 231 has long tidal tails and a disturbed shape, a typical signature of colliding galaxies. It is located about 600 million light-years from Earth (in the constellation of Ursa Major).

Provider: Herschel Space Observatory

Image Source: https://www.herschel.caltech.edu/image/nhsc2009-021f

Curator: NASA Herschel Science Center, Pasadena, CA, USA

Image Use Policy: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/imagepolicy/

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Image Details

Image Type
Chart
Object Name
Markarian 231 Mrk 231
Subject - Local Universe
Galaxy > Activity > Ultraluminous

Distance

Universescale3
600,000,000 light years
Nhsc_nhsc2009-021f_1280
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ID
nhsc2009-021f
Subject Category
C.5.3.4  
Subject Name
Markarian 231, Mrk 231
Credits
ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech
Release Date
2009-11-27
Lightyears
600,000,000
Redshift
0.042170
Reference Url
https://www.herschel.caltech.edu/image/nhsc2009-021f
Type
Chart
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Facility
Instrument
Color Assignment
Band
Bandpass
Central Wavelength
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
Equinox
Reference Value
Reference Dimension
Reference Pixel
Scale
Rotation
Coordinate System Projection:
Quality
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
NASA Herschel Science Center
URL
http://www.herschel.caltech.edu/
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
1200 E. California Blvd.
City
Pasadena
State/Province
CA
Postal Code
91125
Country
USA
Rights
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/imagepolicy/
Publisher
Publisher ID
nhsc
Resource ID
Metadata Date
2018-06-21T00:14:36Z
Metadata Version
1.2
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

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Universescalefull
600,000,000 light years