1,617 research outputs found

    Obscured Active Galactic Nuclei

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    The properties of the absorption in type 2, narrow line AGNs are reviewed by focusing on the X-ray indicators. I discuss the properties of the cold absorbing medium (the putative torus) and of the reprocessed components, as well as their implications for the unified model. The relation between optical classification and X-ray absorption is examined. The case of "fossil" AGNs, whose type 2 classification is not due to absorption effects, is also discussed. Although this review is mainly focused on nearby Seyfert 2 galaxies, I also shortly discuss the effects of absorption at higher luminosities and higher redshift and the implications for the X-ray background.Comment: 10 pages, Invited talk at the conference X-ray Astronomy '999: Stellar Endpoints, AGNs and the Diffuse X-ray Backgroun

    Dust in active nuclei. II. Powder or gravel?

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    In a companion paper, Maiolino et al. (2000) presented various observational evidences for "anomalous" dust properties in the circumnuclear region of AGNs and, in particular, the reduced E(B-V)/N_H and Av/N_H ratios, the absence of the silicate absorption feature in mid-IR spectra of Sy2s and the absence of the carbon dip in UV spectra of reddened Sy1s. In this paper we discuss various explanations for these facts. The observational constraints favor a scenario where coagulation, catalyzed by the high densities in the circumnuclear region, yields to the formation of large grains. The resulting extinction curve is featureless, flatter than Galactic and the E(B-V)/N_H and Av/N_H ratios are significantly reduced. These results should warn about an unappropriate use of the standard Galactic extinction curve and Av/N_H ratio when dealing with the extreme gas conditions typical of the circumnuclear clouds of AGNs. We also investigated alternative scenarios for the observed anomalous properties of dust in AGNs. Some of these scenarios might explain some of the observed properties for a few objects, but they generally fail to account for all of the observational constraints obtained for the large sample of AGNs studied in these works.Comment: 13 pages, 7 figures, accepted for publication in A&

    Seyfert Activity and Nuclear Star Formation in the Circinus Galaxy

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    We present high angular resolution (0".15-0".5) near infrared images and spectroscopy of the Circinus galaxy, the closest Seyfert 2 galaxy known. The data reveal a non-stellar nuclear source at 2.2 microns. The coronal line region and the hot molecular gas emission extend for 20-50 pc in the ionization cone. The data do not show evidence for a point-like concentration of dark mass; we set an upper limit of 4*10^6 Mo to the mass of a putative black hole. We find evidence for a young nuclear stellar population, with typical ages between 4*10^7 and 1.5*10^8 yrs. The luminosity of the starburst inside a few hundred pc is comparable to the intrinsic luminosity of the Seyfert nucleus, and the two of them together account for most of the observed bolometric luminosity of the galaxy. Within the central 12 pc the starburst has an age of about 7*10^7 yrs and radiates about 2% of the luminosity of the active nucleus. We discuss the implications of these results for models that have been proposed for the starburst-AGN connection.Comment: 44 pages, Latex (including 11 Figures), Color Figures 1, 2 and 4 are available at http://www.arcetri.astro.it/~maiolino/ , ApJ in pres
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