Annu. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 1982. 20: 517-45
Copyright © 1982 by . All rights reserved

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5.4. NGC 5128 - A Special Case

Following the detection of 6-cm H2CO absorption (Gardner & Whiteoak 1976a), several other molecular lines were detected toward the strong radio nucleus of this peculiar elliptical. Yet the molecular features do not appear to arise from a central source, but rather from the prominent dust lane (Gardner & Whiteoak 1979), which appears to be a disk configuration viewed almost edge-on (Tubbs 1980 and references within), The small width of the observed lines (2-3 km s-1) and their small velocity extent (20 km s-1) suggest that they arise in a rather quiescent molecular cloud that happens to be superimposed on the nucleus. The likely presence of some associated star formation is indicated by far-infrared emission extended along the dust lane (Harper, private Communication). The relative absorption line strengths of OH and H2CO suggest a similarity to galactic clouds (Gardner & Whiteoak 1976b), NGC 5128 appears to provide the opportunity for "high-resolution" studies of disk clouds.