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NGC 3227
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Galaxies NGC 3227, and NGC 3226, in the constellation Leo.

Picture 838

NGC 3227 (also UGC 5620, PGC 30445 and Arp 94) is a magnitude +11.1 spiral galaxy that is interacting with the magnitude +12.3 dwarf elliptical galaxyNGC 3226(UGC 5617, PGC 30440,), located 77 9 million light-years away in the constellation Leo

They are situated 50' east of the well-known double star system Gamma Leonis (Algieba).

The galaxies were discovered by German-British astronomer William Herschel using a 47.5 cm (18.7 inch) f/13 speculum reflector at Datchet, Berkshire, on the 15th February 1784.



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Title: The Size, Structure and Ionisation of the Broad Line Region in NGC 3227
Authors: Nick Devereux

Hubble Space Telescope (HST) spectroscopy of the Seyfert 1.5 galaxy, NGC 3227, confirms previous reports that the broad H-alpha emission line flux is time variable, decreasing by a modest ~ 13% between 1999 and 2000 in response to a corresponding ~ 40% decrease in the underlying continuum. Modelling the gas distribution responsible for the broad H-alpha, H-beta and H-gamma emission lines favours a spherically symmetric inflow as opposed to a thin disk. Adopting a central black hole mass of 7.6 x 10^6 solar masses, determined from prior reverberation mapping, leads to the following dimensions for the size of the region emitting the broad H-alpha line; an outer radius ~ 60 l.d and an inner radius ~ 4 l.d. Thus, the previously determined reverberation size for the broad line region (BLR) consistently coincides with the inner radius of a much larger volume of ionised gas. However, the perceived size of the BLR is an illusion, a consequence of the fact that the emitting region is ionisation bounded at the outer radius and diminished by Doppler broadening at the inner radius. The actual dimensions of the inflow remain to be determined. Nevertheless, the steady state mass inflow rate is estimated to be ~ 1 x 10^-2 solar masses/yr which is sufficient to explain the X-ray luminosity of the AGN in terms of radiatively inefficient accretion. Collectively, the results challenge many preconceived notions concerning the nature of BLRs in active galactic nuclei.

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