D. Forbes, M. Franx, G. Illingworth
Jun 20, 1994
The Astrophysical Journal
The elliptical galaxy IC 1459 has one of the strongest counter-rotating core components of any observed elliptical. Here we present HST Planetary Camera images of the center of IC 1459. Before deconvolution, our V band images reveal a bright point source at the galaxy nucleus, and dust near the nucleus. After removal of the central point source, deconvolution and model fitting, we show that the central starlight profile is better fit by a ''cusp'' model than an isothermal core model. The photometric properties of the stellar light are comparable to those of other ellipticals without counter-rotating core components. There is an indication of a central stellar disk, although its detection is complicated by the extensive dust. Although the velocity field of the emission-line gas is ordered, the dust distribution is very irregular, and indicates nonequilibrium motions. The irregular dust distribution suggests that material is currently infalling and may be fueling the active nucleus. There is no direct evidence which relates the dust and gas to the peculiar stellar kinematics.