Title: High Spatial Resolution MIR Observations of Seyfert Nuclei
Abstract: In the classical unified model of Seyfert AGN, the classification as a Seyfert 1 or 2 is dependent on the orientation to the line of sight of an optically and geometrically thick torus surrounding the central engine (i.e. Antonucci & Miller 1985). Detailed observations and models of the spatial extent and SED of the torus are therefore crucial to the advancement of unified models. The torus must intercept a significant fraction of the energy from the central engine, and will re-radiate this energy with the observed emission peaking at mid-infrared (MIR) wavelengths. Thus mid-IR observations of AGN provide a powerful diagnostic of the torus and central activity in AGN. However, recent MIR imaging and spectroscopy of AGN have demonstrated that a significant amount of mid-IR emission is commonly found to be extended around the nucleus and ionization cones, with properties that differ significantly from those of the nucleus. Hence, torus models based on low-spatial resolution (1 arcsec or worse) observations suffer significant contamination which greatly detracts from the validity of those models. To advance these models, we plan to make high spatial resolution imaging and spectroscopy of the central regions of bright, nearby AGN and then use new models to account for the observed emission.
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