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Amazing Light pp 343-350 | Cite as

Infrared Emission and H20 Masers around Massive Black Holes in Galactic Nuclei

  • David J. Hollenbach
  • Philip R. Maloney

Abstract

Many galaxies exhibit evidence for nonstellar sources of energy in their centers [1]. The most extreme examples of these active galactic nuclei (AGN)—quasars— reach extraordinary luminosities, exceeding 1047 erg s–1 (about 1013 times the luminosity of the Sun). Time-variability arguments indicate that this energy must arise in very compact regions (≲ 1016 cm). The generally accepted mechanism for powering AGN is accretion of gas onto a massive black hole: a central black hole of mass 106 — 109 solar masses (M) is surrounded by an orbiting accretion disk which may extend ~ 0.1 — 1 pc (1 pc is about 3 light-years) from the black hole. Gaseous material spirals through this disk onto the black hole at rates M ~ 10–4—1 M yr–1, and a fraction 蜒 ~ 0.1 of the gravitational rest-mass energy is converted to radiation [2].

Keywords

Black Hole Accretion Disk Active Galactic Nucleus Column Density Massive Black Hole 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • David J. Hollenbach
  • Philip R. Maloney

There are no affiliations available

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