NGC 1266 as a local candidate for rapid cessation of star formation

Katherine Alatalo, Kristina Nyland, Genevieve Graves, Susana Deustua, Kristen Shapiro Griffin, Pierre Alain Duc, Michele Cappellari, Richard M. McDermid, Timothy A. Davis, Alison F. Crocker, Lisa M. Young, Philip Chang, Nicholas Scott, Sabrina L. Cales, Estelle Bayet, Leo Blitz, Maxime Bois, Frédéric Bournaud, Martin Bureau, Roger L. Davies & 11 others P. T. De Zeeuw, Eric Emsellem, Sadegh Khochfar, Davor Krajnović, Harald Kuntschner, Raffaella Morganti, Thorsten Naab, Tom Oosterloo, Marc Sarzi, Paolo Serra, Anne Marie Weijmans

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26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We present new Spectrographic Areal Unit for Research on Optical Nebulae (SAURON) integral-field spectroscopy and Swift Ultraviolet Optical Telescope (UVOT) observations of molecular outflow host galaxy NGC 1266 that indicate NGC 1266 has experienced a rapid cessation of star formation. Both the SAURON maps of stellar population age and the Swift UVOT observations demonstrate the presence of young (<1 Gyr) stellar populations within the central 1 kpc, while existing Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-Wave Astronomy CO(1-0) maps indicate that the sites of current star formation are constrained to only the inner few hundred parsecs of the galaxy. The optical spectrum of NGC 1266 from Moustakas & Kennicutt reveal a characteristic poststarburst (K+A) stellar population, and Davis et al. confirm that ionized gas emission in the system originate from a shock. Galaxies with K+A spectra and shock-like ionized gas line ratios may comprise an important, overlooked segment of the poststarburst population, containing exactly those objects in which the active galactic nucleus (AGN) is actively expelling the star-forming material. While AGN activity is not the likely driver of the poststarburst event that occurred 500 Myr ago, the faint spiral structure seen in the Hubble Space Telescope Wide-field Camera 3 Y-, J- and H-band imaging seems to point to the possibility of gravitational torques being the culprit. If the molecular gas were driven into the center at the same time as the larger scale galaxy disk underwent quenching, the AGN might be able to sustain the presence of molecular gas for ≳ 1 Gyr by cyclically injecting turbulent energy into the dense molecular gas via a radio jet, inhibiting star formation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number186
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume780
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2014

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