Abstract. The TAURUS-2 Fabry-Perot interferometer, mounted on the 3.9-m Anglo-Australian Telescope, has been used to observe the Circinus galaxy. We have mapped the intensity and velocity distribution of the ionized hydrogen in the galaxy using the Balmer series Halpha spectral line. The semiresolved core (observed with a seeing disc of 30 pc) appears amorphous in shape, which is commonly observed in Seyfert 2 galaxies. Its peak coincides with the core position measured in the radio continuum, suggesting that ionized gas surrounds a non-thermal source. A circumnuclear ring or spiral of radius 220 pc and a rotational velocity of 350 km/s (assuming circular motions) surrounds the core. The inclination angle of this feature, i=40 deg+/-10 deg, is less than that of the previously observed radio continuum disc. The velocity channel maps obtained for the Halpha ring show that the kinematics resemble those of a rotating ring and the intensity displays a complex structure indicative of several, unresolved, HII regions. We believe the ring to represent a circumnuclear starburst. Our Halpha data also show the presence of the previously detected [OIII] ionization cone to the north-west of the core, measuring more than 400 pc in length. We suggest that the ionization cone lies in a different plane from that of the starburst ring and is directed away from us. Several kinematic components of the core are derived and we calculate an outflow velocity in excess of 150-200 km/s for gas above the core of Circinus. We also present evidence for inflowing ionized gas at the centre of Circinus. The correlation of the Halpha and radio continuum features is discussed, as well as the possible presence of a starburst-driven superwind in the Circinus galaxy.
Keywords. galaxies: Seyfert --- galaxies: spiral --- galaxies: structure --- galaxies: kinematics and dynamics --- galaxies: individual: (Circinus) --- radio lines: galaxies
Baerbel.Koribalski @ csiro.au