NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2009B-0184

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Proposal Information for 2009B-0184


PI: Nancy A. Levenson, University of Kentucky, levenson@pa.uky.edu
Address: Department of Physics and Astronomy, 177 Chemistry/Physics Building, Lexington, KY, 40506-0055, USA

CoI: Cristina Ramos Almeida, IAC
CoI: Jose Miguel Rodriguez Espinosa, IAC
CoI: Chris Packham, University of Florida
CoI: Rachel Mason, Gemini Observatory - North
CoI: James Radomski, Gemini Observatory - South
CoI: Almudena Alonso-Herrero, CSIC-Madrid
CoI: Moshe Elitzur, University of Kentucky
CoI: Tanio Diaz Santos, University of Crete

Title: Testing AGN Unification through IR Spectral Energy Distributions--South

Abstract: Unification schemes of active galactic nuclei (AGN) account for a variety of observational differences in terms of viewing geometry. However, our recent work instead shows tantalizing hints that strong unification may not hold, and that the immediate dusty surroundings of various classes of AGN are intrinsically different. Here we propose to obtain high spatial resolution mid-infrared (MIR) images of Seyfert 1 galaxies to test this hypothesis. These new observations will supplement our existing sample of Seyfert galaxies, in which the limited number of type 1s prevents us from drawing statistically robust conclusions against the larger number of type 2s. The MIR-emitting torus is extremely small (scales < 5 pc), so the excellent angular resolution of large ground-based telescopes is essential to avoid contamination from other emission sources that arise on larger scales. Combining these data with existing high spatial resolution near-IR observations, we can effectively measure the entire dusty torus (as opposed to probing only material along the line of sight, as the absorption of type 2s does). We will derive a complete description of the dust distribution immediately around these AGN, measuring properties such as torus angular scale, dust covering fraction, and extinction.


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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