Observations and interpretation of the multifrequency continua of AGN and QSOs

  • Wayne A. Stein
IV. Theories of the Continuum
Part of the Lecture Notes in Physics book series (LNP, volume 307)


The continuum distribution of AGN and QSOs extends from radio through x-ray frequencies to γ-ray energies in a few cases. Strongly active nonthermal sources (blazar) spectral-distributions seem to be adequately interpreted in terms of synchrotron self-Compton emission of nonthermal electrons although many interesting physical questions remain. The less strongly active emission line objects exhibit more complicated multifrequency spectral-distributions with a large blue bump at ultraviolet wavelengths as an energetically important and observationally prominent feature. Models are being explored that explain the large blue bump as synchrotron emission from secondary e+e pairs radiating in the high magnetic field region of a supermassive compact object. As a natural consequence of secondary pair production we also anticipate a high energy x-ray component due to Compton scattering from the large blue bump, a nonthermal infrared component due to pairs radiating in the low field of the broad line region, a Compton scattered x-ray component from the infrared synchrotron emission and π° decay γ-rays with energies greater than 100 Mev. The sum of these components closely resembles the spectral distribution of 3C273 for 109 Hz < ν < 1023 Hz.


Spectral Distribution Nonthermal Electron Synchrotron Emission Extragalactic Source Broad Line Region 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wayne A. Stein
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Minnesota and University of CaliforniaSan Diego

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