NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2006A-0110

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Proposal Information for 2006A-0110


PI: Fred Hamann, University of Florida, hamann@astro.ufl.edu
Address: Astronomy Department, 211 Bryant Space Science Center, Gainesville, FL 32611, United States

CoI: Paola Rodriguez Hidalgo, University of Florida
CoI: Daniel Nestor, University of Florida

Title: High Velocity Outflows in Quasars

Abstract: High velocity (HV) outflows are important components of SMBH growth and evolution. The ability of SMBHs to accrete matter and light up as AGN probably \it requires that outflows are present to carry away angular momentum. Outflows during the luminous AGN phase might also play a critical role in ``unveiling" young dust-enshrouded AGN and in ``polluting" the intergalactic medium with metals at high redshifts. Nonetheless, AGN outflows remain poorly understood. We have begun a program to study a nearly unexplored realm of AGN outflow parameter space: HV winds with v>10,000 km/s up to v~ 0.2c but small velocity dispersions (narrow absorption lines), such that v/(Delta) v \gg 1. These extreme outflows have been detected so far in just a few quasars, but they might be ubiquitous if, as expected, the flows subtend a small solid angle as seen from the central engine. Narrow-line HV flows merit specific attention because they pose unique challenges for theoretical models of the wind acceleration, mass loss rates, launch radii, etc. They might also comprise a significant fraction of absorbers previously attributed to unrelated (interveinng) gas or galaxies. We have compiled a list of bright quasars with candidate HV outflow lines (CIV 1550 A) in existing SDSS spectra. We now propose to observe ~50 of these candidates with the 2.1m GoldCam to i) identify/confirm some of the true outflow systems (based on line variability), ii) place a firm lower limit on the fraction of quasars with narrow-line HV outflows, iii) compile a short list of confirmed HV outflow sources for future study, and iv) use the combined SDSS and GoldCam data to measure or constrain basic outflow properties, such as the kinematics, locations, and physical conditions.


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



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