Optical, Near-IR, and Sub-mm IFU Observations of the Nearby Dual Active Galactic Nuclei MRK 463


We present optical and near-IR Integral Field Unit (IFU) and ALMA band 6 observations of the nearby dual active galactic nuclei (AGNs) Mrk 463. At a distance of 210 Mpc, and a nuclear separation of ∼4 kpc, Mrk 463 is an excellent laboratory to study the gas dynamics, star formation processes and supermassive black hole (SMBH) accretion in a late-stage gas-rich major galaxy merger. The IFU observations reveal a complex morphology, including tidal tails, star-forming clumps, and emission-line regions. The optical data, which map the full extent of the merger, show evidence for a biconical outflow and material outflowing at >600 km s-1, both associated with the Mrk 463E nucleus, along with large-scale gradients likely related to the ongoing galaxy merger. We further find an emission-line region ∼11 kpc south of Mrk 463E that is consistent with photoionization by an AGN. Compared to the current AGN luminosity, the energy budget of the cloud implies a luminosity drop in Mrk 463E by a factor of 3-20 over the last 40,000 years. The ALMA observations of 12CO(2-1) and adjacent 1 mm continuum reveal the presence of ∼109 M ⊙ in molecular gas in the system. The molecular gas shows velocity gradients of ∼800 km s-1 and ∼400 km s-1 around the Mrk 463E and 463W nuclei, respectively. We conclude that, in this system, the infall of ∼100s M o yr-1 of molecular gas is in rough balance with the removal of ionized gas by a biconical outflow being fueled by a relatively small, <0.01% of accretion onto each SMBH.

Publication Title

Astrophysical Journal