Clumpy tori around active galactic nuclei
Max Planck Institut für Astrophysik, PO Box 1317, 85741 Garching, Germany e-mail: email@example.com Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
Accepted: 18 January 2005
We discuss the question whether the matter in dusty tori around active galactic nuclei has a smooth or a clumpy structure. Nenkova et al. (2002, ApJ, 570, L9) have argued that the lack of emission feature in the SEDs of type 1 AGN galaxies combined with a clear absorption feature in type 2 AGN can be explained if the circumnuclear dust is distributed in discrete clumps. Our aim is to verify this. We use multi-dimensional radiative transfer models of smooth and clumpy tori, and compare the SEDs of equivalent smooth and clumpy models. We find that the 10 μm emission feature of the clumpy models, when seen almost face-on, is not appreciably reduced compared to the equivalent smooth models. Some of the clumpy models have a weak or even absent 10 μm feature, but so do some of the smooth models. On the whole the SEDs of clumpy and smooth tori are similar, but some details are different. The absorption feature seen at edge-on inclinations appears to be less deep in the clumpy models than in the smooth models, and the average flux in the near-infrared regime is stronger in the clumpy models. Moreover, at these inclinations the clumpy models have a slightly wider SED. Whether these differences are unique enough to be used as a diagnostic for clumpiness of AGN tori is not yet clear.
Key words: galaxies: active / galaxies: nuclei / galaxies: Seyfert
© ESO, 2005