Near-infrared imaging of CfA Seyfert galaxies

K. K. Mcleod, G. H. Rieke

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117 Scopus citations


We present near-IR images of 43 Seyfert galaxies from the CfA Seyfert sample. The near-IR luminosity is a good tracer of luminous mass in these galaxies. Most of the Seyfert nuclei are found in hosts of mass similar to that of L* galaxies and ranging in type from S0 to Sc. In addition, there is a population of low-mass host galaxies with very low luminosity Seyfert nuclei. We have examined our images for signs of perturbations that could drive fuel toward the galaxy nucleus, but there are none we can identify at a significant level. The critical element for fueling is evidently not reflected clearly in the large-scale distribution of luminous mass in the galaxy. The Seyfert hosts are compared with a sample of 50 low-redshift quasar host galaxies we have also imaged. The radio-quiet quasars and the Seyfert nuclei lie in similar kinds of galaxies spanning the same range of mass centered around L*. However, for the most luminous quasars, there is a correlation between the minimum host-galaxy mass and the luminosity of the active nucleus. Radio-loud quasars are generally found in hosts more massive than an L* galaxy. The low-luminosity quasars and the Seyfert nuclei both tend to lie in host galaxies seen preferentially face-on, which suggests that there is a substantial amount of obscuration coplanar with the galaxian disk. The obscuration must be geometrically thick (thickness-to-radius ratio ∼1) and must cover a significant fraction of the narrow-line region (r > 100 pc).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-112
Number of pages17
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 1995


  • Galaxies: Seyfert
  • Galaxies: nuclei
  • Galaxies: photometry
  • Infrared: galaxies
  • Quasars: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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