Using megamaser disks to probe black hole accretion

Jenny E. Greene, Anil Seth, Mark Den Brok, James A. Braatz, Christian Henkel, Ai Lei Sun, Chien Y. Peng, Cheng Yu Kuo, C. M.Violette Impellizzeri, K. Y. Lo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


We examine the alignment between H2O megamaser disks on subparsec scales with circumnuclear disks and bars on <500 pc scales observed with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST)/WFC3. The HST imaging reveals young stars, indicating the presence of gas. The megamaser disks are not well aligned with the circumnuclear bars or disks as traced by stars in the HST images. We speculate on the implications of the observed misalignments for fueling supermassive black holes in gas-rich spiral galaxies. In contrast, we find a strong preference for the rotation axes of the megamaser disks to align with radio continuum jets observed on ≳ 50 pc scales, in those galaxies for which radio continuum detections are available. Subarcsecond observations of molecular gas with ALMA will enable a more complete understanding of the interplay between circumnuclear structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number121
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 10 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • galaxies: nuclei-galaxies: Seyfert


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