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Title: Probing the Structure and Evolution of BASS Active Galactic Nuclei through Eddington Ratios
Abstract We constrain the intrinsic Eddington ratio ( λ Edd ) distribution function for local active galactic nuclei (AGN) in bins of low and high obscuration [ log ( N H / cm − 2 ) ≤ 22 and 22 < log ( N H / cm − 2 ) < 25 ], using the Swift Burst Alert Telescope 70 month/BASS DR2 survey. We interpret the fraction of obscured AGN in terms of circumnuclear geometry and temporal evolution. Specifically, at low Eddington ratios ( log λ Edd < −2), obscured AGN outnumber unobscured ones by a factor of ∼4, reflecting the covering factor of the circumnuclear material (0.8, or a torus opening angle of ∼34°). At high Eddington ratios ( log λ Edd > −1), the trend is reversed, with <30% of AGN having log ( N H / cm − 2 ) > 22 , which we suggest is mainly due to the small fraction of time spent in a highly obscured state. Considering the Eddington ratio distribution function of narrow-line and broad-line AGN from our prior work, we see a qualitatively similar picture. To disentangle temporal and geometric effects at high λ Edd , we explore plausible clearing scenarios such that the time-weighted covering factors agree with the observed population ratio. We find that the low fraction of obscured AGN at high λ Edd is primarily due to the fact that the covering factor drops very rapidly, with more than half the time spent with <10% covering factor. We also find that nearly all obscured AGN at high- λ Edd exhibit some broad lines. We suggest that this is because the height of the depleted torus falls below the height of the broad-line region, making the latter visible from all lines of sight.  more » « less
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The Astrophysical Journal Letters
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Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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