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The Accretion and Obscured Growth of Supermassive Black Holes

First Constraints on the Local Heavily Obscured AGN Fraction with NuSTAR

Authors:

  • Nominated as an outstanding Ph.D. thesis by the University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom

  • Contains peer-reviewed research results that featured in a global NASA press release

  • A comprehensive introduction into AGN science and state-of-the-art research of obscured supermassive black holes

  • Includes a comprehensive step-by-step breakdown of the steps necessary for X-ray spectral extraction from a wide variety of cutting-edge X-ray telescopes

Part of the book series: Springer Theses (Springer Theses)

Buying options

eBook USD 139.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-60361-8
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book USD 179.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 179.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

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Table of contents (6 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xxiv
  2. Introduction

    • Peter Boorman
    Pages 1-43
  3. The NuLANDS \(N_H\) Distribution

    • Peter Boorman
    Pages 143-179
  4. Summary, Conclusions and Outlook

    • Peter Boorman
    Pages 181-189
  5. Back Matter

    Pages 191-311

About this book

This thesis describes the application of state-of-the-art high-energy X-ray studies to the astronomical quest for understanding obscured active galactic nuclei (AGN). These AGN are supermassive black holes growing by accretion of matter located in the nuclei of galaxies. The material that feeds these black holes also obscures them from view, rendering them challenging to study. It is possible to study them by effectively 'X-raying' galactic nuclei to peer through these obscuring veils.
 
Beginning with the proof-of-concept application of novel X-ray Monte Carlo codes to the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope ARray (NuSTAR) spectrum of a known heavily obscured AGN, the thesis establishes the relevant parameters that characterise the AGN spectrum and central black hole growth rate. Next the largest sample of known heavily obscured AGN is compiled, finding the strength of a prominent iron spectral feature to weaken with AGN power. This is puzzling, and suggests that there may be more hidden AGN than previously thought. Finally by combining an all-sky infrared selection with NuSTAR follow-up, new heavily obscured AGN are identified. Obscuration emits infrared radiation, meaning that the infrared-selected AGN catalogue should be representative of the underlying AGN population. The absence of such representative catalogues has continually plagued cosmological studies, and the resultant obscured AGN fraction will be strongly constraining for AGN models.

Keywords

  • Studying Active Galactic Nuclei
  • high energy X-rays in astronomy
  • Obscuration of galactic nuclei
  • Supermassive Black Holes
  • Compton-thick
  • NuSTAR telecope array
  • Iron K-alpha
  • X-ray Monte Carlo code

Authors and Affiliations

  • Czech Academy of Sciences, Astronomical Institute, Prague, Czech Republic

    Peter Boorman

About the author

Peter Boorman graduated with a 1st class honours degree in physics from the University of Southampton in 2015, finishing top of his cohort. His work during his PhD led him to a NASA press release, 2 refereed first-author papers, and 10 other co-authored papers. He was selected in 2019 for the annual Lindau Nobel Laureate meeting, representing the University of Southampton in a global gathering of Nobel laureates and the world's top young researchers. He now works at the Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences, and will soon start a fellowship at the University of Kyoto with a world-leading X-ray astronomy group.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: The Accretion and Obscured Growth of Supermassive Black Holes

  • Book Subtitle: First Constraints on the Local Heavily Obscured AGN Fraction with NuSTAR

  • Authors: Peter Boorman

  • Series Title: Springer Theses

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-60361-8

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Physics and Astronomy, Physics and Astronomy (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-60360-1

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-60363-2

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-60361-8

  • Series ISSN: 2190-5053

  • Series E-ISSN: 2190-5061

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XXIV, 311

  • Number of Illustrations: 78 b/w illustrations, 130 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: General Relativity, Astronomy, Observations and Techniques

Buying options

eBook USD 139.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-60361-8
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book USD 179.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 179.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)