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Determining the Launching Sites and Extents of AGN Outflows in Nearby Galaxies using Radiative Driving Models

Presentation #112.02D in the session AGN and Quasars I.

Published onJun 29, 2022
Determining the Launching Sites and Extents of AGN Outflows in Nearby Galaxies using Radiative Driving Models

Observations have suggested that ionized gas outflows driven by active galactic nuclei (AGN) may influence star formation at the centers of their host galaxies. However, we have yet to explain their physical origins and quantify the nature of their impacts on galaxy evolution. In this talk, I will present results of our recent investigation of outflow dynamics in 6 nearby active galaxies. For this work, we employ spatially resolved spectroscopic and imaging observations from the Hubble Space Telescope and Apache Point Observatory. We map the kinematics of the ionized gas in the narrow-line regions (NLRs) of these galaxies to isolate the outflows and determine the stellar mass distributions of the host galaxies as a function of distance from their nuclei. We use an analytical model based on radiative driving from the AGN and gravitational deceleration from the host galaxies to calculate the launch distances of the observed outflows. These launch distances indicate the locations of gas reservoirs that could be potential sites of star formation. We find that the maximum distances from which these outflows originate are strongly correlated with the AGN luminosity. Our models are consistent with the spatially resolved mass outflow rate measurements presented in Revalski et. al. 2021, ApJ, 910, 139, which suggests that AGN radiation pressure is the primary driving mechanism responsible for the observed NLR outflows in these galaxies. In the future, these results will be helpful for understanding outflow properties in high redshift galaxies, which may dominate feedback in the early universe but lack spatially resolved information.

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