Infrared spectropolarimetry of Seyfert galaxy NGC1068

D. K. Aitken*, J. A. Bailey, G. Briggs, J. H. Hough, P. F. Roche

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although most of the luminosity of Seyfert galaxy nuclei is emitted in the IR, the relative amounts of thermal dust and non-thermal emission are uncertain. Seyfert galaxies generally have smooth and featureless IR spectra, in contrast to the prominent dust emission features seen in galaxies whose nuclei resemble giant H II regions - the star burst nuclei1,2. Nevertheless, in type 2 Seyferts, the general form of the energy distribution and lack of marked variability suggest that here too thermal dust emission is dominant 3-5, and in NGC1068 this supposition is supported by the resolved size of its nucleus6. Dust is observed in absorption at 10 m (refs 7,8) and in emission near 20 m (ref. 9). Polarization has been detected from the UV to 10 m, and attributed to scattering and absorption at short wavelengths10 with a possible non-thermal component11,12, to scattering and non-thermal radiation in the near IR9, and to either absorption or non-thermal emission in the 10 m region13. We present here spectropolarimetric measurements of NGC1068, between 8 and 13 m, which show that the polarized flux at these wavelengths is intrinsic to the emission mechanism and not due to absorption by aligned grains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)660-662
Number of pages3
JournalNature
Volume310
Issue number5979
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1984

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