Magnetic confinement, magnetohydrodynamic waves and smooth line profiles in active galactic nuclei

M. C. Bottorff, Gary J. Ferland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this paper, we show that if the broad-line region clouds are in approximate energy equipartition between the magnetic field and gravity, as hypothesized by Rees, there will be a significant effect on the shape and smoothness of broad emission-line profiles in active galactic nuclei. Linewidths of contributing clouds or flow elements are much wider than their thermal widths, because of the presence of non-dissipative magnetohydrodynamic waves and their collective contribution produce emission-line profiles broader and smoother than would be expected if a magnetic field were not present. As an illustration, a simple model of isotropically emitting clouds, normally distributed in velocity, is used to show that smoothness can be achieved for less than ∼8 × 104 clouds and may even be as low as a few hundred. We conclude that magnetic confinement has far-reaching consequences for observing and modelling active galactic nuclei.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-106
Number of pages4
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume316
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 21 2000

Keywords

  • Galaxies: active
  • Galaxies: nuclei
  • Line: profiles
  • MHD
  • Magnetic fields

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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