Near-Infrared Observations of the Double Nucleus in Mrk 231

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Session 46 -- Seyfert Galaxies and LINERS
Display presentation, Thursday, January 13, 9:30-6:45, Salons I/II Room (Crystal Gateway)

[46.07] Near-Infrared Observations of the Double Nucleus in Mrk 231

L. Armus (Caltech), J.A. Surace (U. Hawaii), B.T. Soifer, K. Matthews, G. Neugebauer, J.E. Larkin (Caltech)

We present new near-infrared images in the J, H, and K-band atmospheric windows of the ultraluminous Seyfert 1 galaxy Markarian 231. These images show the presence of a faint (K $\approx$15.8 mag), yet intrinsically very luminous (M $\approx$ -20.4 mag) secondary peak in the light distribution approximately 3.5 arcseconds, or 2.7 kpc, south of the Seyfert 1 nucleus. The near-infrared luminosity and colors of this peak suggest it is the remnant nucleus of the companion galaxy to Mrk 231, which, through an interaction and subsequent merger, has produced the large scale morphological distortions and fueled the Seyfert 1 nucleus. In addition, we find extended, warm dust emission surrounding the Seyfert 1 nucleus on scales of 1-3 kpc, suggesting a local heat source which we identify as a circumnuclear starburst.

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