Markarian 348: A Tidally Disturbed Seyfert Galaxy

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Science  13 Mar 1987:
Vol. 235, Issue 4794, pp. 1367-1370
DOI: 10.1126/science.235.4794.1367


Combined optical and radio images of galaxies can provide new insights into the sizes, masses, and possible evolution of these objects. Deep optical and neutral hydrogen images of Markarian 348, a type 2 Seyfert galaxy, show that it is a gigantic spiral (perhaps the largest known non-cluster galaxy). Measurements of the neutral hydrogen velocity field and spiral structure, and detection of an optical "tidal plume," all provide evidence that it has been subject to tidal disruption. The measured velocities yield a mass-to-light ratio for this object (within a radius of 130 kiloparsecs from its nucleus) that is similar to the ratio found for the inner regions of most galaxies of similar type. This is one of the few cases where detailed velocity measurements have demonstrated that a galaxy with an active nucleus has been subject to extensive tidal perturbation.