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The Diagnostic Potential of Coronal lines in the Study of Active Galactic Nuclei

Presentation #213.07 in the session AGN and Quasars III.

Published onJun 29, 2022
The Diagnostic Potential of Coronal lines in the Study of Active Galactic Nuclei

Since the advent of large-scale ground-based spectroscopic campaigns, detailed studies of the brightest emission lines have been carried out for millions of galaxies. However, there have not yet been any systematic studies of the much fainter coronal line spectrum in a large sample of galaxies. These emission lines, which arise from collisionally excited forbidden fine structure transitions from highly ionized species, are seen in some active galactic nuclei (AGN), but their frequency and dependence on fundamental black hole and host galaxy properties are currently unknown. Not only are these spectral features a robust indicator of the presence of accretion activity, but they are a powerful diagnostic of the AGN radiation field and the effect of the AGN on the host galaxy. They can be used to constrain accretion disk models, study the effect of AGN feedback, and may even be used to constrain the black hole mass. In this work, we conduct for the first time a large-scale systematic study of the optical coronal line spectrum in a large sample of quasars for which the black hole mass, bolometric luminosity, and Eddington ratio have been measured. We discuss the detection rate of coronal line emission in this sample and assess the dependence of the coronal line spectrum on the quasar properties.

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