Published on November 29, 2007
Quasars, Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN), and Black Holes: Quasars, Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN), and Black Holes What is an “active galaxy” or “quasar”? How is it different from a “normal” galaxy? 1. Much, much more luminous 2. Brightness varies rapidly with time [Implication: light emitting region must be small!] 3. Broad emission lines 4. Non-stellar radiation 5. Jets / radio lobes Rapid Variations in Brightness: Rapid Variations in Brightness Astronomer 1 light week Intrinsic variations in the luminosity of the quasar get smeared out from our perspective by the difference in light travel time across the emitting region Thus, the rapid variations seen in the luminosity of quasars imply that the size of the light emitting region must be relatively small Slide3: Broad Emission Lines / Non-stellar radiation Slide4: Jet and Radio Lobe in the Active Galaxy M87 Concept of a Black Hole: Concept of a Black Hole Escape velocity from the Earth’s surface: 11 km/s Definition of escape velocity: (vesc)2 = 2 G M / r When the escape velocity for an object reaches the speed of light, not even light can escape from it. Such an object is called a BLACK HOLE! Models of Active Galaxies: Models of Active Galaxies Black holes: Natural explanation of AGNs and quasars Definition of event horizon or Schwarzschild radius: RBH = 2 G M / c2 [Characteristic size of region over which radiation is emitted is comparable to Schwarzschild radius of the central black hole] Rapid motion of material swirling into black hole Large Doppler shifts Efficient energy production Models of Active Galaxies: Models of Active Galaxies Standard model: Accretion disk around black hole Dense, dusty gas torus outside accretion disk Gas clouds heated by radiation from accretion disk Appearance depends on viewing geometry (face-on vs. pole-on) Slide8: Synchrotron radiation (mostly at radio wavelengths) Charged particles spiral around magnetic field lines Jets and radio lobes Two oppositely-directed rapid streams of material Jets plough into the inter-galactic medium, are slowed down by friction, and produce radio lobes at the ends Hawking Radiation: Hawking Radiation Spontaneous pair production and pair annihilation near the event horizon of a BH BH radiates like a black body: T α 1 / MBH Evaporation of BH: 1 M ● BH lasts for as long as 1070 yrs!