Wednesday 21 Oct 2015: Seminar: Tori, disks, and winds - the AGN dust emission at high angular resolution
Dr Sebastian Hoenig - University of Southampton
Physics, 4th floor 14:00-15:00
Mass accretion onto supermassive black holes occurs on scales beyond the diffraction limit of any single optical/infrared (IR) telescope. Thanks to the resolution power of the VLT Interferometer, we are now tapping into the outer accretion structure of active galactic nuclei (AGN) - commonly referred to as the "dusty torus". Several surprising results are challenging our current paradigm: While the bulk of the mid-IR emission originates from perpendicular where models would put the torus, the IR emission as a whole appears to be made of two components. In this talk I will give a basic introduction to IR interferometry and discuss what our recent results tell us about AGN unification and the physical processes that regulate accretion and feedback. I will also give a brief glimpse into how IR interferometry can help us establishing AGN as cosmological distance measures.