An image of the dust sublimation region in the nucleus of NGC 1068

Gravity Collaboration; Pfuhl, O.; Davies, R.; Dexter, J.; Netzer, H.; Hönig, S.; Lutz, D.; Schartmann, M.; Sturm, E.; Amorim, A.; Brandner, W.; Clénet, Y.; de Zeeuw, P. T.; Eckart, A.; Eisenhauer, F.; Förster Schreiber, N. M.; Gao, F.; Garcia, P. J. V.; Genzel, R.; Gillessen, S.; Gratadour, D.; Kishimoto, M.; Lacour, S.; Millour, F.; Ott, T.; Paumard, T.; Perraut, K.; Perrin, G.; Peterson, B. M.; Petrucci, P. O.; Prieto, M. A.; Rouan, D.; Shangguan, J.; Shimizu, T.; Sternberg, A.; Straub, O.; Straubmeier, C.; Tacconi, L. J.; Tristram, K. R. W.; Vermot, P.; Waisberg, I.; Widmann, F.; Woillez, J.
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Astronomy and Astrophysics

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We present near-infrared interferometric data on the Seyfert 2 galaxy NGC 1068, obtained with the GRAVITY instrument on the European Southern Observatory Very Large Telescope Interferometer. The extensive baseline coverage from 5 to 60 Mλ allowed us to reconstruct a continuum image of the nucleus with an unrivaled 0.2 pc resolution in the K-band. We find a thin ring-like structure of emission with a radius r = 0.24 ± 0.03 pc, inclination i = 70 ± 5°, position angle PA = -50 ± 4°, and h/r < 0.14, which we associate with the dust sublimation region. The observed morphology is inconsistent with the expected signatures of a geometrically and optically thick torus. Instead, the infrared emission shows a striking resemblance to the 22 GHz maser disc, which suggests they share a common region of origin. The near-infrared spectral energy distribution indicates a bolometric luminosity of (0.4-4.7) × 1045 erg s-1, behind a large AK ≈ 5.5 (AV ≈ 90) screen of extinction that also appears to contribute significantly to obscuring the broad line region.

The reconstructed image and interferometric beam are available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to ( or via
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