ALMA Images of the Host Cloud of the Intermediate-mass Black Hole Candidate CO-0.40-0.22∗: No Evidence for Cloud-Black Hole Interaction, but Evidence for a Cloud-Cloud Collision

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This paper reports a reanalysis of archival ALMA data of the high velocity(-width) compact cloud CO-0.40-0.22, which has recently been hypothesized to host an intermediate-mass black hole (IMBH). If beam-smearing effects, difference in beam sizes among frequency bands, and Doppler shift due to the motion of the Earth are considered accurately, none of the features reported as evidence for an IMBH in previous studies are confirmed in the reanalyzed ALMA images. Instead, through analysis of the position-velocity structure of the HCN J = 3-2 data cube, we have found kinematics typical of a cloud-cloud collision (CCC), namely, two distinct velocity components bridged by broad emission features with elevated temperatures and/or densities. One velocity component has a straight filamentary shape with approximately constant centroid velocities along its length but with a steep, V-shaped velocity gradient across its width. This contradicts the IMBH scenario but is consistent with a collision between two dissimilar-sized clouds. From a non-LTE analysis of the multitransition methanol lines, the volume density of the post-shock gas has been measured to be 106 cm-3, indicating that the CCC shock can compress gas in a short timescale to densities typical of star-forming regions. Evidence for star formation has not been found, possibly because the cloud is in an early phase of CCC-triggered star formation or because the collision is nonproductive.

Original languageEnglish
Article number86
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jun 1



  • Galaxy: center
  • ISM: abundances
  • ISM: clouds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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