The interstellar medium of IRAS 08572+3915 NW: H3+ and warm high-velocity CO1,2

T. R. Geballe, M. Goto, T. Usuda, T. Oka, B. J. McCall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We confirm the first detection of the molecular ion H3 + in an extragalactic object, the highly obscured ultraluminous galaxy IRAS 08572+3915 NW. We also have detected absorption lines of the fundamental band of CO in this galaxy. The CO absorption consists of a cold component close to the systemic velocity and warm, highly blueshifted and redshifted components. The warm blueshifted component is remarkably strong and broad and extends at least to -350 km s-1. Some analogies can be drawn between the H3+ and cold CO in IRAS 08572+3915 NW and the same species seen toward the Galactic center. The profiles of the warm CO components are not those expected from a dusty torus of the type thought to obscure active galactic nuclei. They are probably formed close to the dust continuum surface near the buried and active nucleus and are probably associated with an unusual and energetic event there.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)907-913
Number of pages7
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 II
StatePublished - Jun 10 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Galaxies: ISM
  • Galaxies: active
  • Infrared: galaxies
  • Line: profiles
  • Molecular processes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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