PI: D. Michael Crenshaw, Georgia State University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: Department of Physics and Astronomy, One Park Place South, SE, Suite 700, Atlanta, GA 30303, USA
CoI: Thaisa Storchi-Bergmann, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
CoI: Rogemar Andre Riffel, Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Brazil
CoI: Henrique Schmitt, Naval Research Laboratory
CoI: Steven B. Kraemer, The Catholic University of America
CoI: Travis Cody Fischer, Georgia State University
Title: NIFS Observations of the Seyfert 1 Galaxy Mrk 509: A Minor Merger Caught in the Act of Fueling the AGN?
Abstract: We have discovered evidence for a tidal tail in recent \it HST images of the Seyfert 1 galaxy Mrk 509 within ~2\arcsecpoint2 (~1.5 kpc) of its active nucleus. We propose NIFS observations of the central regions of Mrk 509 to test the hypothesis that this feature results from a minor merger with a gas-rich dwarf galaxy, by determining the kinematics and geometries of the stars, ionized gas, and warm molecular gas in the circumnuclear region. This is the current hypothesis for the fueling of low to moderate luminosity AGN, but has never before been witnessed or quantified. Our proposed observations provide a unique opportunity to explore this fueling process, via a detailed kinematic study of the different gas phases in this galaxy, looking in particular for an inflow associated with the tidal feature, disturbed stellar kinematics from the merger, and/or recent star formation triggered by the inflow.
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