HST Observations of NGC 6240

Joris Gerssen, Roeland P. van der Marel

Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, USA

David Axon

University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK

Chris Mihos

Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA

Lars Hernquist

Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA

Joshua E. Barnes

Institute for Astronomy, Honolulu, HI, USA

Presented at The Central kpc of Starbursts and AGN,
La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain, 7 - 11 May, 2001.


WFPC2 images and STIS spectroscopic observations are presented of the double nucleus in the merger system NGC 6240. We find that: (a) the kinematics of the ionized gas is similar to that of the molecular gas, despite a different morphology; (b) the gaseous and stellar kinematics are quite different, suggesting an early merger stage; (c) neither the gaseous nor the stellar kinematics show an obvious sign of the supermassive black hole believed to be responsible for the X-ray emission of NGC 6240, and (d) the steep off-nuclear velocity gradient is not due to a ~ 1011 Msun black hole, by contrast to earlier suggestions.


A gzipped postscript copy of this paper is available. The text will appear in The Central kpc of Starbursts and AGN, ed. J.H. Knapen, J.E. Beckman, I. Shlosman, & T.J. Mahoney (Astronomical Society of the Pacific).

Joshua E. Barnes (barnes@galileo.ifa.hawaii.edu)

Last modified: June 20, 2001