The Interstellar Medium in Active Galaxies

  • Julian H. Krolik
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 161)


Simple estimates based on the observed ionizing luminosities of active galactic nuclei suggest that they should have profound influence on the interstellar media of their host galaxies. Surprisingly, they do not. The simple estimates fail because they do not adequately account for the complicated exchange of mass between the stellar population and the interstellar medium, and because they do not include any obscuration by dusty material close to the nucleus. Recent observational work has demonstrated the existence of obscuration close to the nucleus; recent theoretical work has clarified the physical properties of this material. Because the obscuration is not complete, the ionizing luminosity does generate extended emission line radiation from the host galaxy’s interstellar medium along certain preferred directions. Future work will use these extended emission line regions as diagnostics of interstellar conditions in the inner parts of active nuclei. In this regard, several speculations are presented about the dynamics of this gas and what role it may play in fuelling the central nucleus.


Emission Line Interstellar Medium Active Galactic Nucleus Column Density Spiral Galaxy 
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 Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julian H. Krolik
    • 1
  1. 1.Johns Hopkins UniversityUSA

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