Infrared Spectral Energy Distribution and Variability of Active Galactic Nuclei: Clues to the Structure of Circumnuclear Material

Jianwei Lyu, George Rieke

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The active galactic nucleus (AGN) phenomenon results from a supermassive black hole accreting its surrounding gaseous and dusty material. The infrared (IR) regime provides most of the information to characterize the dusty structures that bridge from the galaxy to the black hole, providing clues to the black hole growth and host galaxy evolution. Over the past several decades, with the commissioning of various ground, airborne and space IR observing facilities, our interpretations of the AGN circumnuclear structures have advanced significantly through an improved understanding of how their dust emission changes as a function of wavelength and how the heating of the dusty structures responds to variations in the energy released from the central engine. In this review, we summarize the current observational knowledge of the AGN IR broad-band spectral energy distributions (SEDs) and the IR time variability behavior covering large ranges of AGN luminosity and redshift, and discuss some first-order insights into the obscuring structures and host galaxy IR properties that can be obtained by integrating the relevant observations into a coherent picture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number304
JournalUniverse
Volume8
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2022

Keywords

  • AGN host galaxies
  • IR astronomy
  • IR galaxies
  • Seyfert galaxies
  • active galactic nuclei
  • dust continuum emission
  • quasars
  • reverberation mapping
  • spectral energy distribution
  • time domain astronomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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