Volume 413, Number 3, January III 2004
|Page(s)||949 - 957|
|Section||Galactic structure, stellar clusters, and populations|
|Published online||07 January 2004|
From the Circumnuclear Disk in the Galactic Center to thick, obscuring tori of AGNs
CDS, Observatoire astronomique de Strasbourg, UMR 7550, 11 rue de l'Université, 67000 Strasbourg, France
2 Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany
3 Institut für Theoretische Astrophysik der Universität Heidelberg, Tiergartenstraße 15, 69121 Heidelberg, Germany
Corresponding author: T. Beckert, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 6 October 2003
We compare three different models of clumpy gas disk and show that the Circumnuclear Disk (CND) in the Galactic Center and a putative, geometrically thick, obscuring torus are best explained by a collisional model consisting of quasi-stable, self-gravitating clouds. Kinetic energy of clouds is gained by mass inflow and dissipated in cloud collisions. The collisions give rise to a viscosity in a spatially averaged gas dynamical picture, which connects them to angular momentum transport and mass inflow. It is found that CND and torus share the same gas physics in our description, where the mass of clouds is 20-50 and their density is close to the limit of disruption by tidal shear. We show that the difference between a transparent CND and an obscuring torus is the gas mass and the velocity dispersion of the clouds. A change in gas supply and the dissipation of kinetic energy can turn a torus into a CND-like structure and vice versa. Any massive torus will naturally lead to sufficiently high mass accretion rates to feed a luminous AGN. For a geometrically thick torus to obscure the view to the center even super-Eddington accretions rates with respect to the central black hole are required.
Key words: ISM: clouds / ISM: structure / Galaxy: structure / Galaxy: center / galaxies: nuclei
© ESO, 2004
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