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Astron. Astrophys. Suppl. Ser. 147, 291-297

Interpreting the kinematics of the extended gas in distant radiogalaxies from 8-10 m telescope spectra

M. Villar-Martín1 - A. Alonso-Herrero1 - S. di Serego Alighieri2 - J. Vernet 3

Send offprint request: M. Villar-Martín,

1 - Dept. of Natural Sciences, Univ. of Hertfordshire, College Lane, Hatfield, Herts AL10 9AB, UK
2 - Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo E. Fermi 5, I-50125 Firenze, Italy
3 - European Southern Observatory, Karl Schwarschild Str. 2, D-85748 Garching, Germany

Received April 28; accepted September 11, 2000


The nature of the extreme kinematics in the extended gas of distant radio galaxies (z>0.7) is still an open question. With the advent of the 8-10 m telescope generation and the development of NIR arrays we are in the position for the first time to develop a more detailed study by using lines other than Ly$\alpha $ and [OII]$\lambda$3727 depending on redshift. In this paper we review the main sources of uncertainty in the interpretation of the emission line kinematics: the presence of several kinematic components, Ly$\alpha $ absorption by neutral gas/dust and the contribution of scattered light to some of the lines. As an example, several kinematic components can produce apparent, false rotation curves. We propose methods to solve these uncertainties.

We propose to extend the methods applied to low redshift radio galaxies to investigate the nature of the kinematics in distant radio galaxies: by means of the spectral decomposition of the strong optical emission lines (redshifted into the NIR) we can isolate the different kinematic components and study the emission line ratios for the individual components. If shocks are responsible for the extreme kinematics, we should be able to isolate a kinematic component (the shocked gas) with large FWHM ($\geq900$ km s-1), low ionization level [OIII] $\lambda5007/{\rm H}\beta \sim 2-4$ and weak $\rm HeII\lambda 4686/H\beta\leq 0.07$, together with a narrow component ($\leq$ few hundred km s-1) with higher ionization level and strong HeII emission ( $\rm HeII/H\beta\sim0.5$).

Key words: techniques: spectroscopic -- methods: observational -- galaxies, kinematics and dynamics

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