ABSTRACT: We present high-resolution imaging of the nucleus of NGC 4258 from 1 to 18 μm. Our observations reveal that the previously discovered compact source of emission is unresolved even at the near-infrared resolution of ~02 FWHM, which corresponds to about 7 pc at the distance of the galaxy. This is consistent with the source of emission being the region in the neighborhood of the purported 3.5 × 107 M☉ black hole. After correcting for about 18 mag of visual extinction, the infrared data are consistent with an Fν ν-1.4±0.1 spectrum from 1.1 to 18 μm, implying a nonthermal origin. Based on this spectrum, the total extinction-corrected infrared luminosity (1-20 μm) of the central source is 2 × 108 L☉. We argue that the infrared spectrum and luminosity of the central source obviates the need for a substantial contribution from a standard, thin accretion disk at these wavelengths and calculate the accretion rate through an advection-dominated accretion flow to be ~ 10-3 M☉ yr -1. The agreement between these observations and the theoretical spectral energy distribution for advection-dominated flows provides evidence for the existence of an advection-dominated flow in this low-luminosity active galactic nucleus.
The Astrophysical Journal 12/2008; 531(2):756. · 6.02 Impact Factor