Probing the magnetic FIELD at subparsec radii in the accretion disk of NGC 4258

Maryam Modjaz, James M. Moran, Paul T. Kondratko, Lincoln J. Greenhill

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We present an analysis of polarimetric observations at 22 GHz of the water vapor masers in NGC 4258 obtained with the VLA and the GBT. We do not detect any circular polarization in the spectrum indicative of Zeeman-induced splitting of the maser lines of water, a non-paramagnetic molecule. We have improved the 1 σ upper limit estimate on the toroidal component of the magnetic field in the circumnuclear disk of NGC 4258 at a radius of 0.2 pc from 300 to 90 mG. We have developed a new method for the analysis of spectra with blended features and derive a 1 σ upper limit of 30 mG on the radial component of the magnetic field at a radius of 0.14 pc. Assuming thermal and magnetic pressure balance, we estimate an upper limit on the mass accretion rate of ∼10 -3.7 M yr-1 for a total magnetic field of less than 130 mG. We discuss the ramifications of our results on current maser models proposed to explain the observed maser emission structure and the consequences for current accretion theories. We find from our magnetic field limits that the thin-disk model and the jet-disk model are better candidates for accounting for the extremely low luminosity nature of NGC 4258 than models that include advection-dominated accretion flows.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)104-119
    Number of pages16
    JournalAstrophysical Journal
    Issue number1 I
    StatePublished - Jun 10 2005


    • Accretion, accretion disks
    • Galaxies: individual (NGC 4258)
    • Galaxies: magnetic fields
    • Galaxies: nuclei
    • Masers
    • Polarization

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Astronomy and Astrophysics
    • Space and Planetary Science


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