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2017ApJS..228....6X - Astrophys. J., Suppl. Ser., 228, 6-6 (2017/January-0)

Silicate dust in active galactic nuclei.

XIE Y., LI A. and HAO L.

Abstract (from CDS):

The unification theory of active galactic nuclei (AGNs) hypothesizes that all AGNs are surrounded by an anisotropic dust torus and are essentially the same objects but viewed from different angles. However, little is known about the dust that plays a central role in the unification theory. There are suggestions that the AGN dust extinction law appreciably differs from that of the Galaxy. Also, the silicate emission features observed in type 1 AGNs appear anomalous (i.e., their peak wavelengths and widths differ considerably from that of the Galaxy). In this work, we explore the dust properties of 147 AGNs of various types at redshifts z 0.5, with special attention paid to 93 AGNs that exhibit the 9.7 and 18 µm silicate emission features. We model their silicate emission spectra obtained with the Infrared Spectrograph aboard the Spitzer Space Telescope. We find that 60/93 of the observed spectra can be well explained with "astronomical silicate," while the remaining sources favor amorphous olivine or pyroxene. Most notably, all sources require the dust to be micron-sized (with a typical size of ∼1.5 ± 0.1 µm), much larger than submicron-sized Galactic interstellar grains, implying a flat or "gray" extinction law for AGNs. We also find that, while the 9.7 µm emission feature arises predominantly from warm silicate dust of temperature T ∼ 270 K, the ∼5-8 µm continuum emission is mostly from carbon dust of T ∼ 640 K. Finally, the correlations between the dust properties (e.g., mass, temperature) and the AGN properties (e.g., luminosity, black hole mass) have also been investigated.

Abstract Copyright: © 2017. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

Journal keyword(s): dust, extinction - galaxies: nuclei - infrared: galaxies - quasars: general - quasars: general

Simbad objects: 152

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