With IRAM-30 m/HERA, we have detected CO(2–1) gas complexes within 30 arcsec (∼100 pc) from the center of M 31 that amount to a minimum total mass of 4.2×10 4 M� (one third of the positions are detected). Averaging the whole HERA field, we show that there is no additional undetected diffuse component. Moreover, the gas detection is associated with gas lying on the far side of the M 31 center as no extinction is observed in the optical, but some emission is present on infrared Spitzer maps. The kinematics is complex. (1) The velocity pattern is mainly redshifted: the dynamical center of the gas differs from the black hole position and the maximum of optical emission, and only the redshifted side is seen in our data. (2) Several velocity components are detected in some lines of sight. Our interpretation is supported by the reanalysis of the effect of dust on a complete planetary nebula sample. Two dust components are detected with respective position angles of 37 deg and –66 deg. This is compatible with a scenario where the superposition of the (PA = 37 deg) disk is dominated by the 10 kpc ring and the inner 0.7 kpc ring detected in infrared data, whose position angle (–66 deg) we measured for the first time. The large-scale disk, which dominates the HI data, is steeply inclined (i = 77 deg), warped and superposed on the line of sight on the less inclined inner ring. The detected CO emission might come from both components.

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