Shock excited molecules in NGC 1266: ULIRG conditions at the center of a bulge-dominated galaxy

E. W. Pellegrini, J. D. Smith, M. G. Wolfire, B. T. Draine, A. F. Crocker, K. V. Croxall, P. Van Der Werf, D. A. Dale, D. Rigopoulou, C. D. Wilson, E. Schinnerer, B. A. Groves, K. Kreckel, K. M. Sandstrom, L. Armus, D. Calzetti, E. J. Murphy, F. Walter, J. Koda, E. BayetP. Beirao, A. D. Bolatto, M. Bradford, E. Brinks, L. Hunt, R. Kennicutt, J. H. Knapen, A. K. Leroy, E. Rosolowsky, L. Vigroux, R. H.B. Hopwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


We investigate the far infrared (IR) spectrum of NGC 1266, a S0 galaxy that contains a massive reservoir of highly excited molecular gas. Using the Herschel Fourier Transform Spectrometer, we detect the 12CO ladder up to J = (13-12), [C i] and [N ii] lines, and also strong water lines more characteristic of UltraLuminous IR Galaxies (ULIRGs). The12CO line emission is modeled with a combination of a low-velocity C-shock and a photodissociation region. Shocks are required to produce the H2O and most of the high-J CO emission. Despite having an IR luminosity 30 times less than a typical ULIRG, the spectral characteristics and physical conditions of the interstellar medium of NGC 1266 closely resemble those of ULIRGs, which often harbor strong shocks and large-scale outflows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL19
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Galaxies: individual (NGC 1266)
  • ISM: jets and outflows
  • ISM: lines and bands
  • ISM: molecules
  • Infrared: ISM
  • Photon-dominated region (PDR)


Dive into the research topics of 'Shock excited molecules in NGC 1266: ULIRG conditions at the center of a bulge-dominated galaxy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this