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Redefining the Torus: A unifying view of AGNs in the infrared and submillimeter

Redefining the Torus: A unifying view of AGNs in the infrared and submillimeter
Redefining the Torus: A unifying view of AGNs in the infrared and submillimeter
The advent of high-angular-resolution IR and submillimeter interferometry allows for spatially resolved observations of the parsec-scale environment of active galactic nuclei (AGNs), commonly referred to as the "torus." While molecular lines show the presence of large, massive disks, the IR observations appear to be dominated by a strong polar component that has been interpreted as a dusty wind. This paper aims at using characteristics shared by AGNs in each of the wavebands and a set of simple physical principles to form a unifying view of these seemingly contradictory observations: dusty molecular gas flows in from galactic scales of ~100 pc to the subparsec environment via a disk with small to moderate scale height. The hot, inner part of the disk puffs up due to IR radiation pressure and unbinds a large amount of the inflowing gas from the black hole's gravitational potential, providing the conditions to launch a wind driven by the radiation pressure from the AGN. The dusty wind feeds back mass into the galaxy at a rate of the order of ~0.1–100 M ⊙ yr−1, depending on the AGN luminosity and Eddington ratio. Angle-dependent obscuration as required by AGN unification is provided by a combination of disk, wind, and wind-launching region.
0004-637X
Hoenig, Sebastian
be0bb8bc-bdac-4442-8edc-f735834f3917
Hoenig, Sebastian
be0bb8bc-bdac-4442-8edc-f735834f3917

Hoenig, Sebastian (2019) Redefining the Torus: A unifying view of AGNs in the infrared and submillimeter. The Astrophysical Journal, 884 (2), [171]. (doi:10.3847/1538-4357/ab4591).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The advent of high-angular-resolution IR and submillimeter interferometry allows for spatially resolved observations of the parsec-scale environment of active galactic nuclei (AGNs), commonly referred to as the "torus." While molecular lines show the presence of large, massive disks, the IR observations appear to be dominated by a strong polar component that has been interpreted as a dusty wind. This paper aims at using characteristics shared by AGNs in each of the wavebands and a set of simple physical principles to form a unifying view of these seemingly contradictory observations: dusty molecular gas flows in from galactic scales of ~100 pc to the subparsec environment via a disk with small to moderate scale height. The hot, inner part of the disk puffs up due to IR radiation pressure and unbinds a large amount of the inflowing gas from the black hole's gravitational potential, providing the conditions to launch a wind driven by the radiation pressure from the AGN. The dusty wind feeds back mass into the galaxy at a rate of the order of ~0.1–100 M ⊙ yr−1, depending on the AGN luminosity and Eddington ratio. Angle-dependent obscuration as required by AGN unification is provided by a combination of disk, wind, and wind-launching region.

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Redefining the Torus-A Unifying View of AGNs in the Infrared and Submillimeter - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 16 September 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 23 October 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 436451
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/436451
ISSN: 0004-637X
PURE UUID: b76fc0ac-2f81-403a-9a76-85849ea10cb8

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Date deposited: 11 Dec 2019 17:30
Last modified: 25 Nov 2021 17:35

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