Context. HNCO and SiO are well-known shock tracers and have been observed in nearby galaxies, including the nearby (D = 3.5 Mpc) starburst galaxy NGC 253. The simultaneous detection of these two species in regions where the star-formation rate is high may be used to study the shock history of the gas.
Aims: We perform a multi-line molecular study of NGC 253 using the shock tracers SiO and HNCO and aim to characterize its gas properties. We also explore the possibility of reconstructing the shock history in the central molecular zone (CMZ) of the galaxy.
Methods: Six SiO transitions and eleven HNCO transitions were imaged at high resolution 1.″6 (28 pc) with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) as part of the ALCHEMI Large Programme. Both non local thermaldynamic equilibrium (non-LTE) radiative transfer analysis and chemical modeling were performed in order to characterize the gas properties and investigate the chemical origin of the emission.
Results: The nonLTE radiative transfer analysis coupled with Bayesian inference shows clear evidence that the gas traced by SiO has different densities and temperatures than that traced by HNCO, with an indication that shocks are needed to produce both species. Chemical modeling further confirms such a scenario and suggests that fast and slow shocks are responsible for SiO and HNCO production, respectively, in most GMCs. We are also able to infer the physical characteristics of the shocks traced by SiO and HNCO for each GMC.
Conclusions: Radiative transfer and chemical analysis of the SiO and HNCO in the CMZ of NGC 253 reveal a complex picture whereby most of the GMCs are subjected to shocks. We speculate on the possible shock scenarios responsible for the observed emission and provide potential history and timescales for each shock scenario. Observations of higher spatial resolution for these two species are required in order to quantitatively differentiate between the possible scenarios.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- July 2023
- galaxies: ISM;
- galaxies: individual: NGC253;
- galaxies: starburst;
- ISM: molecules;
- Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies