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Investigating the Nuclear Activity of Barred Spiral Galaxies: The Case of NGC 1672

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We have performed an X-ray study of the nearby barred spiral galaxy NGC 1672, primarily to ascertain the effect of the bar on its nuclear activity. We use both Chandra and XMM-Newton observations to investigate its X-ray properties, together with supporting high-resolution optical imaging data from the Hubble Space Telescope HST infrared imaging from the Spitzer Space Telescope, and Australia Telescope Compact Array ground-based radio data. We detect 28 X-ray sources within the D25 area of the galaxy many are spatially correlated with star formation in the bar and spiral arms, and two are identified as background galaxies in the HST images. Nine of the X-ray sources are ultraluminous X-ray sources, with the three brightest LX 5 10exp 39 erg sexp -1 located at the ends of the bar. With the spatial resolution of Chandra, we are able to show for the first time that NGC 1672 possesses a hard 1.5 nuclear X-ray source with a 2-10 keV luminosity of 4 10exp 38 erg sexp -1. This is surrounded by an X-ray-bright circumnuclear star-forming ring, comprised of point sources and hot gas, which dominates the 2-10 keV emission in the central region of the galaxy. The spatially resolved multiwavelength photometry indicates that the nuclear source is a low-luminosity active galactic nucleus LLAGN, but with star formation activity close to the central black hole. A high-resolution multiwavelength survey is required to fully assess the impact of both large-scale bars and smaller-scale phenomena such as nuclear bars, rings, and nuclear spirals on the fueling of LLAGN.

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  • Astronomy
  • Optics
  • Unmanned Spacecraft

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