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New evidence for the ubiquity of prominent polar dust emission in AGN on tens of parsec scales

New evidence for the ubiquity of prominent polar dust emission in AGN on tens of parsec scales
New evidence for the ubiquity of prominent polar dust emission in AGN on tens of parsec scales
The key ingredient of active galactic nuclei (AGN) unification, the dusty obscuring torus was so far held responsible for the observed mid-infrared (MIR) emission of AGN. However, the best studied objects with Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI)/MID-infrared Interferometric instrument (MIDI) show that instead a polar dusty wind is dominating these wavelengths, leaving little room for a torus contribution. But is this wind a ubiquitous part of the AGN? To test this, we conducted a straightforward detection experiment, using the upgraded Very Large Telescope (VLT)/VLT Imager and Spectrometer for mid-InfraRed (VISIR) for deep subarcsecond resolution MIR imaging of a sample of nine [O IV]-bright, obscured AGN, all of which were predicted to have detectable polar emission. Indeed, the new data reveal such emission in all objects but one. We further estimate lower limits on the extent of the polar dust and show that the polar dust emission is dominating the total MIR emission of the AGN. These findings support the scenario that polar dust is not only ubiquitous in AGN but also an integral part of its structure, processing a significant part of the primary radiation. The polar dust has to be optically thin on average, which explains e.g. the small dispersion in the observed MIR–X-ray luminosity correlation. At the same time, it has to be taken into account when deriving covering factors of obscuring material from MIR to bolometric luminosity ratios. Finally, we find a new tentative trend of increasing MIR emission size with increasing Eddington ratio.
0035-8711
2177-2188
Asmus, Daniel
f783516a-c74c-4912-b68e-4e896e4317b2
Asmus, Daniel
f783516a-c74c-4912-b68e-4e896e4317b2

Asmus, Daniel (2019) New evidence for the ubiquity of prominent polar dust emission in AGN on tens of parsec scales. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 489 (2), 2177-2188. (doi:10.1093/mnras/stz2289).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The key ingredient of active galactic nuclei (AGN) unification, the dusty obscuring torus was so far held responsible for the observed mid-infrared (MIR) emission of AGN. However, the best studied objects with Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI)/MID-infrared Interferometric instrument (MIDI) show that instead a polar dusty wind is dominating these wavelengths, leaving little room for a torus contribution. But is this wind a ubiquitous part of the AGN? To test this, we conducted a straightforward detection experiment, using the upgraded Very Large Telescope (VLT)/VLT Imager and Spectrometer for mid-InfraRed (VISIR) for deep subarcsecond resolution MIR imaging of a sample of nine [O IV]-bright, obscured AGN, all of which were predicted to have detectable polar emission. Indeed, the new data reveal such emission in all objects but one. We further estimate lower limits on the extent of the polar dust and show that the polar dust emission is dominating the total MIR emission of the AGN. These findings support the scenario that polar dust is not only ubiquitous in AGN but also an integral part of its structure, processing a significant part of the primary radiation. The polar dust has to be optically thin on average, which explains e.g. the small dispersion in the observed MIR–X-ray luminosity correlation. At the same time, it has to be taken into account when deriving covering factors of obscuring material from MIR to bolometric luminosity ratios. Finally, we find a new tentative trend of increasing MIR emission size with increasing Eddington ratio.

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New evidence for the ubiquity of prominent polar dust emission in AGN on tens of parsec scales - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 9 August 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 19 August 2019
Published date: October 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 435666
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/435666
ISSN: 0035-8711
PURE UUID: 08bc9246-9fce-4bf0-bcad-44b65363eb10

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Date deposited: 18 Nov 2019 17:30
Last modified: 18 Nov 2019 17:30

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