IR Emmission and the Viewing Angle of AGN

  • Elitzur, Moshe (PI)

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According to unification schemes, all active galactic nuclei (AGN) are intrinsically the same object-- an accreting super massive black hole surrounded by an obscuring torus comprised of dusty clouds in axial configuration. The viewing direction with respect to the torus axis determines the AGN appearance. Line spectroscopy indicates whether there is direct sight of the central engine but cannot determine the actual viewing angle. Recent progress in spectropolarimetry data analysis provides for the first time actual information on tbe viewing angle itself. Apart from obscuration, direct evidence for the torus comes from its IR emission- Our recently developed formalism for dust emission from a clumpy torus enables realistic modeling of theiR observations of AGN. Here we propose detailed modeling and analysis of Spitzer archival data for every AGN whose viewing angle has been determined from spectropolarimetry data. Tying together two key diagnostics of the AGN unification paradigm, the IR SED and the optical polarization, will allow us to build up a picture of the scattering and obscuring regions in unprecedented detail. The result will be a major step in progress toward understanding the AGN accretion process and the feeding of supermassive black holes.
Effective start/end date1/1/1012/31/12


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