HST imaging of the dusty filaments and nucleus swirl in NGC4696 at the centre of the Centaurus Cluster

A. C. Fabian, S. A. Walker, H. R. Russell, C. Pinto, R. E.A. Canning, P. Salome, J. S. Sanders, G. B. Taylor, E. G. Zweibel, C. J. Conselice, F. Combes, C. S. Crawford, G. J. Ferland, J. S. Gallagher, N. A. Hatch, R. M. Johnstone, C. S. Reynolds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Narrow-band HST imaging has resolved the detailed internal structure of the 10 kpc diameter H α+[N II] emission line nebulosity in NGC4696, the central galaxy in the nearby Centaurus cluster, showing that the dusty, molecular, filaments have a width of about 60 pc. Optical morphology and velocity measurements indicate that the filaments are dragged out by the bubbling action of the radio source as part of the active galactic nucleus feedback cycle. Using the drag force we find that the magnetic field in the filaments is in approximate pressure equipartition with the hot gas. The filamentary nature of the cold gas continues inwards, swirling around and within the Bondi accretion radius of the central black hole, revealing the magnetic nature of the gas flows in massive elliptical galaxies. HST imaging resolves the magnetic, dusty, molecular filaments at the centre of the Centaurus cluster to a swirl around and within the Bondi radius.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)922-928
Number of pages7
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.


  • Black hole physics
  • Galaxies: clusters: individual: NGC4696
  • Galaxies: clusters: intracluster medium -X-rays: galaxies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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