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Gas and Dust Evolution Near a Cosmic Engine

1 Mar 2021, 16:00 UTC
Gas and Dust Evolution Near a Cosmic Engine
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Paper Title: The close environments of accreting massive black holes are shaped by radiative feedbackAuthors: Claudio Ricci et al. First Author’s Institution: Instituto de Astrofísica, Facultad de Física, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Casilla 306, Santiago 22, ChileStatus: Accepted to Nature. Open access on arXiv.AGN Space TripSwirling streams of matter rapidly funnel onto the core of a supermassive galaxy. Wandering stars are tidally disrupted by a central black hole’s voracious appetite. Neighboring gas and dust amalgamate with the stellar matter, as they too are siphoned from their stable orbits and cast towards these inner galactic depths. Such is life near Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN), which operate like cosmic engines, violently exchanging the gravitational energy of accreted material into powerful feedback (i.e. radiation, jets, and winds). Obscured DilemmaToday, we consider the environments closest — few to tens of parsecs– to the action! In these volatile regions, most AGN are obscured by thick columns of circumnuclear dust and gas. The dilemma, though, is that the fundamental nature and evolution of this intervening material remains uncertain. Might the thickness of this obscuring material be linked to AGN luminosity, feedback, and/or maybe the gravitational potential of the black hole itself?The authors of today’s paper ...

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