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Nearby Active Galaxies at 1 to 2 eV resolution: prospects of the Line Emission Mapper Probe mission

Presentation #110.25 in the session LEM.

Published onJul 01, 2023
Nearby Active Galaxies at 1 to 2 eV resolution: prospects of the Line Emission Mapper Probe mission

The Line Emission Mapper (LEM) is an X-ray Probe-class Mission concept which combines 1 to 2 eV spectral resolution in the soft X-ray band (0.2 to 2 keV) with an area of ~ 2600 cm2 at 1 keV, plus 15” spatial resolution (10” HPD) over a large 30’ by 30’ field of view. In response to the Astro2020 Decadal Report’s Priority Area of Unveiling the Drivers of Galaxy Growth and its Science Vision of Understanding Cosmic Ecosystems, LEM will enable studies into multiple major themes of AGN research, including the key questions: How do AGNs drive galaxy evolution? What is the input of AGN energy into the interstellar medium? How do AGNs affect star formation in their host galaxies? What are starburst - AGN feedback mechanisms? By mapping gas velocities to high precision and probing gas thermodynamics, LEM will allow us to untangle stellar and black-hole feedback in nearby galaxies — the presumed physical drivers of galaxy formation. By decoupling soft X-ray emission features of AGN photoionization and shock heating from stellar sources, LEM will spectrally decouple AGNs from their host galaxies. Compton-thick and low-luminosity AGNs will be excellent candidates for examining outflows (collisional vs. photoionized) by measuring line energies and abundances. For very bright nearby AGNs, LEM will examine outflows detected via absorption by studying both spectral and temporal characteristics to determine the driving mechanisms (e.g. MHD vs. radiation). Observables such as velocities, line widths, abundances, column densities, can be measured with high precision on timescales of ~hours to days, which are inaccessible to current generation spectrographs. Specifically, LEM will measure line peak energies to high precision and can thus distinguish: the number of thermal components, gas temperature(s), the presence of photoionized gas, and ionization state. Emission line widths / skew will constrain velocities in both ~pc-scale to kpc-scale outflows to within a few hundred km/sec. This poster highlights AGN science in these areas derived from both planned Milky Way and all-sky surveys, and guest observer science opportunities.

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