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Published October 1991 | Published
Journal Article Open

The dust enshrouded quasar in the ultraluminous galaxy Markarian 463 - Radio, near-infrared, and optical imaging


New radio continuum, near-infrared, and optical images are presented for the infrared ultraluminous galaxy Mrk 463, which prior optical work has shown to be an interacting/merging system containing two Seyfert 2 nuclei separated by 4" (4 kpc). The eastern nucleus, Mrk 463E, has a steep-spectrum (ƒ_v ∝ v^(-1) radio core with a luminosity density that is characteristic of a quasar or radio galaxy. Imaging at 20 cm reveals previously unknown components 4" north and 18" south of Mrk 463E, and a source 10" to the northwest which is apparently linked to the nuclear region. The western nucleus, Mrk 463W, has been detected at 6 and 20 cm (ƒ_v ∝ v^(-0 5); it has a radio luminosity comparable to that of a moderately luminous Seyfert galaxy or a highly luminous starburst galaxy. Near-infrared images at wavelengths less than 2.3 µm show the two nuclei; only Mrk 463E has been detected at 3.7 µm Mrk 463E has an extremely red V— K color of 6.8 mag. Brightness profiles of Mrk 463E are unresolved at K and L ' but extended at J; this is likely due to the effects of extinction and centrally concentrated hot dust emission. Radio continuum components 4-18 kpc from the nucleus are aligned with previously known 0.05-1.5 kpc radio structure and extended, conical [O III] emission. This suggests that Mrk 463E is powering weak radio lobes and may therefore exemplify a transition between the confined linear sources in Seyfert galaxies and the extended lobes in classical quasars and radio galaxies. Mrk 463E has a 3.7 µm luminosity and K — L' color comparable to PG quasars, suggesting that dust obscures an embedded quasar. These data are consistent with recent spectropolarimetry observations of Miller & Goodrich [ApJ, 355, 456 (1990)] that reveal a Seyfert 1 nucleus in Mrk 463E. We suggest that Mrk 463 represents the genesis of a classical quasar or radio galaxy.

Additional Information

© 1991 American Astronomical Society. Received 8 March 1991; revised 3 June 1991. We thank the night assistants at the Hale telescope, Juan Carrasco and Skip Staples, and the support staff of the Palomar Observatory and the VLA for assistance in obtaining the data. The imaging data were processed with AIPS and IRAF. We also thank James Ulvestad for an illuminating discussion about the sizes of radio structures in Seyfert galaxies, Charles Lawrence for helpful suggestions, and an anonymous referee for a number of useful comments. This research has made use of the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED) which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. This work was supported in part by a grant from the NSF, and by NASA through the Astrophysics Data Program and the Long Term Space Astrophysics Program.

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Published - 1991AJ____102_1241M.pdf


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