skip to main content

Title: Modeling the Infrared Reverberation Response of the Circumnuclear Dusty Torus in AGNs: An Investigation of Torus Response Functions
The size and structure of the dusty circumnuclear torus in active galactic nuclei (AGNs) can be investigated by analyzing the temporal response of the torus's infrared (IR) dust emission to variations in the AGN ultraviolet/optical luminosity. This method, reverberation mapping, is applicable over a wide redshift range, but the IR response is sensitive to several poorly constrained variables relating to the dust distribution and its illumination, complicating the interpretation of measured reverberation lags. We have used an enhanced version of our torus reverberation mapping code (TORMAC) to conduct a comprehensive exploration of the torus response functions at selected wavelengths, for the standard interstellar medium grain composition. The shapes of the response functions vary widely over the parameter range covered by our models, with the largest variations occurring at shorter wavelengths (≤4.5 μm). The reverberation lag, quantified as the response-weighted delay (RWD), is most affected by the radial depth of the torus, the steepness of the radial cloud distribution, the degree of anisotropy of the AGN radiation field, and the volume filling factor. Nevertheless, we find that the RWD provides a reasonably robust estimate, to within a factor of ~3, of the luminosity-weighted torus radius, confirming the basic assumption underlying reverberation more » mapping. However, overall, the models predict radii at 2.2 μm that are typically a factor of ~2 larger than those derived from K-band reverberation mapping. This is likely an indication that the innermost region of the torus is populated by clouds dominated by large graphite grains. « less
Authors:
; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1659740
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10227733
Journal Name:
The astrophysical journal
Volume:
891
Issue:
1
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
26
ISSN:
2041-8205
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract We have recently initiated the first spectroscopic dust reverberation programme on active galactic nuclei in the near-infrared. Spectroscopy enables measurement of dust properties, such as flux, temperature, and covering factor, with higher precision than photometry. In particular, it enables measurement of both luminosity-based dust radii and dust response times. Here we report results from a 1 yr campaign on NGC 5548. The hot dust responds to changes in the irradiating flux with a lag time of ∼70 light-days, similar to what was previously found in photometric reverberation campaigns. The mean and rms spectra are similar, implying that the same dust component dominates both the emission and the variations. The dust lag time is consistent with the luminosity-based dust radius only if we assume a wavelength-independent dust emissivity law, i.e. a blackbody, which is appropriate for grains of large sizes (of a few μm). For such grains the dust temperature is ∼1450 K. Therefore, silicate grains have most likely evaporated and carbon is the main chemical component. But the hot dust is not close to its sublimation temperature, contrary to popular belief. This is further supported by our observation of temperature variations largely consistent with a heating/cooling process. Therefore, the inner dust-free regionmore »is enlarged and the dusty torus rather a ‘dusty wall’, whose inner radius is expected to be luminosity-invariant. The dust-destruction mechanism that enlarges the dust-free region seems to also partly affect the dusty region. We observe a cyclical decrease in dust mass with implied dust reformation times of ∼5–6 months.« less
  2. ABSTRACT

    We examine the long-term optical/near-infrared (NIR) flux variability of a ‘changing-look’ active galactic nucleus (AGN) Mrk 590 between 1998 and 2007. Multiband multi-epoch optical/NIR photometry data from the SDSS Stripe 82 data base and the Multicolor Active Galactic Nuclei Monitoring (MAGNUM) project reveal that Mrk 590 experienced a sudden luminosity decrease during the period from 2000 to 2001. Detection of dust reverberation lag signals between V- and K-band light curves obtained by the MAGNUM project during the faint state in 2003–2007 suggests that the dust torus innermost radius Rdust of Mrk 590 had become very small [Rdust ≃ 32 light-days (lt-days)] by the year 2004 according to the aforementioned significant decrease in AGN luminosity. The Rdust in the faint state is comparable to the H β broad-line region (BLR) radius of RH β, BLR ≃ 26 lt-days measured by previous reverberation mapping observations during the bright state of Mrk 590 in 1990–1996. These observations indicate that the innermost radius of the dust torus in Mrk 590 decreased rapidly after the AGN ultraviolet-optical luminosity drop, and that the replenishment time-scale of the innermost dust distribution is less than 4 yr, which is much shorter than the free fall time-scale of BLR gas or dust clouds. We suggest that rapid replenishmentmore »of the innermost dust distribution can be accomplished either by new dust formation in radiatively cooled BLR gas clouds or by new dust formation in the disc atmosphere and subsequent vertical wind from the dusty disc as a result of radiation pressure.

    « less
  3. ABSTRACT

    Multiwavelength variability studies of active galactic nuclei can be used to probe their inner regions that are not directly resolvable. Dust reverberation mapping (DRM) estimates the size of the dust emitting region by measuring the delays between the infrared (IR) response to variability in the optical light curves. We measure DRM lags of Zw229-015 between optical ground-based and Kepler light curves and concurrent IR Spitzer 3.6 and 4.5 µm light curves from 2010 to 2015, finding an overall mean rest-frame lag of 18.3 ± 4.5 d. Each combination of optical and IR light curve returns lags that are consistent with each other within 1σ, which implies that the different wavelengths are dominated by the same hot dust emission. The lags measured for Zw229-015 are found to be consistently smaller than predictions using the lag–luminosity relationship. Also, the overall IR response to the optical emission actually depends on the geometry and structure of the dust emitting region as well, so we use Markov chain Monte Carlo modelling to simulate the dust distribution to further estimate these structural and geometrical properties. We find that a large increase in flux between the 2011–2012 observation seasons, which is more dramatic in the IR light curve, is notmore »well simulated by a single dust component. When excluding this increase in flux, the modelling consistently suggests that the dust is distributed in an extended flat disc, and finds a mean inclination angle of 49$^{+3}_{-13}$ deg.

    « less
  4. Using VLTI/GRAVITY and SINFONI data, we investigate the subparsec gas and dust structure around the nearby type 1 active galactic nucleus (AGN) hosted by NGC 3783. The K -band coverage of GRAVITY uniquely allows simultaneous analysis of the size and kinematics of the broad line region (BLR), the size and structure of the near-infrared(near-IR)-continuum-emitting hot dust, and the size of the coronal line region (CLR). We find the BLR, probed through broad Br γ emission, to be well described by a rotating, thick disc with a radial distribution of clouds peaking in the inner region. In our BLR model, the physical mean radius of 16 light-days is nearly twice the ten-day time-lag that would be measured, which closely matches the ten-day time-lag that has been measured by reverberation mapping. We measure a hot dust full-width at half-maximum (FWHM) size of 0.74 mas (0.14 pc) and further reconstruct an image of the hot dust, which reveals a faint (5% of the total flux) offset cloud that we interpret as an accreting or outflowing cloud heated by the central AGN. Finally, we directly measure the FWHM size of the nuclear CLR as traced by the [Ca  VIII ] and narrow Br γmore »line. We find a FWHM size of 2.2 mas (0.4 pc), fully in line with the expectation of the CLR located between the BLR and narrow line region. Combining all of these measurements together with larger scale near-IR integral field unit and mid-IR interferometry data, we are able to comprehensively map the structure and dynamics of gas and dust from 0.01 to 100 pc.« less
  5. ABSTRACT

    Comprehending the radio–infrared (IR) relations of the faint extragalactic radio sources is important for using radio emission as a tracer of star formation in high redshift (z) star-forming galaxies (SFGs). Using deep uGMRT observations of the ELAIS-N1 field in the 0.3–0.5 GHz range, we study the statistical properties of the radio–IR relations and the variation of the ‘q-parameter’ up to z = 2 after broadly classifying the faint sources as SFGs and AGN. We find the dust temperature (Tdust) to increase with z. This gives rise to $q_{\rm 24\,\mu m}$, measured at $24\, \mu$m, to increase with z as the peak of IR emission shifts towards shorter wavelengths, resulting in the largest scatter among different measures of q-parameters. $q_{\rm 70\,\mu m}$ measured at $70\, \mu$m, and qTIR using total-IR (TIR) emission are largely unaffected by Tdust. We observe strong, non-linear correlations between the radio luminosities at 0.4 and 1.4 GHz with $70\, \mu$m luminosity and TIR luminosity(LTIR). To assess the possible role of the radio-continuum spectrum in making the relations non-linear, for the first time we study them at high z using integrated radio luminosity (LRC) in the range 0.1–2 GHz. In SFGs, the LRC–LTIR relation remains non-linear with a slope of 1.07 ± 0.02,more »has a factor of 2 lower scatter compared to monochromatic radio luminosities, and $q^{\rm RC}_{\rm TIR}$ decreases with z as $q^{\rm RC}_{\rm TIR}= (2.27 \pm 0.03)\, (1+z)^{-0.12 \pm 0.03}$. A redshift variation of q is a natural consequence of non-linearity. We suggest that a redshift evolution of magnetic field strengths and/or cosmic ray acceleration efficiency in high-z SFGs could give rise to non-linear radio–IR relations.

    « less