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Dust in the narrow-line region of active galactic nuclei
Netzer, Hagai; Laor, Ari
AA(Tel Aviv Univ., Israel; Cerro-Tololo Interamerican Observatory, La Serena, Chile), AB(Inst. for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 2 - Letters (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 404, no. 2, p. L51-L54. (ApJL Homepage)
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NASA/STI Keywords:
Active Galactic Nuclei, Cosmic Dust, Emission Spectra, Spectral Line Width, Lyman Alpha Radiation, Quasars
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Observations of AGN show the presence of a cloud system with two well-separated regions of line emission, the narrow-line region (NLR) and the broad-line region (BLR). There are several unexplained features of the system. First, there is an apparent 'gap' between the BLR and the NLR with almost no line emission. Second, the covering factor of the NLR clouds, as inferred from photoionization models, is an order of magnitude smaller than the covering factor of the BLR, but the observed infrared continuum and new high-resolution HST images suggest a much larger covering factor. Finally, the BLR size scales with the source luminosity in a way which is not understood. In this Letter we show that the apparent low covering factor of the NLR, the nearly 'empty' intermediate region, and the size of the BLR, are all naturally explained if dust is embedded in the narrow line-emitting gas. We present new photoionization calculations for a continuous distribution of clouds extending from the BLR to the NLR.

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