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Title:
Molecular tori in Seyfert galaxies - Feeding the monster and hiding it
Authors:
Krolik, Julian H.; Begelman, Mitchell C.
Affiliation:
AA(Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD; California, University, Santa Barbara), AB(Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics; Colorado, University, Boulder)
Publication:
Astrophysical Journal, Part 1 (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 329, June 15, 1988, p. 702-711. Research supported by the Ball Corp., Rockwell International Corp., and Exxon Education Foundation. (ApJ Homepage)
Publication Date:
06/1988
Category:
Astrophysics
Origin:
STI
NASA/STI Keywords:
Black Holes (Astronomy), Galactic Nuclei, Interstellar Gas, Molecular Clouds, Seyfert Galaxies, Energy Dissipation, Gravitational Fields, Size Distribution, Stellar Winds
DOI:
10.1086/166414
Bibliographic Code:
1988ApJ...329..702K

Abstract

Much evidence exists that the majority of Seyfert nuclei are surrounded by a geometrically and optically thick torus of dusty, obscuring gas a few parsecs from the center. The authors discuss the principal properties of the gas in the torus. It is almost certainly not smoothly distributed; most of its mass is gathered into clouds. The balance between cloud merger and tidal shearing ensures that the covering factor of these clouds in the axial direction is of order unity and determines the shape of the cloud-size distribution function. It is shown that the same viscous heating responsible for the large geometrical thickness of the obscuring region removes the angular momentum from enough clouds to permit them to be captured by the central black hole, fueling its activity and stabilizing the balance between evaporation and dissipative inflow.

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