Predoctoral Projects, 2014

Project Title: High Angular Resolution Imaging of Active Galaxies

Project Advisor: Dr. Martin Elvis

Background: Active Galaxies have been the archetypal point sources since they were discovered. Indirect studies via spectroscopy and variability show that the range of scales over which the signs of nuclear activity are generated is huge: from close to the black hole event horizon to 100s of parsecs. New technologies including AO on MMT, Magellan and other ground based telescopes, HST IR imaging and, most dramatically, milliarcsecond optical/near-IR imaging with interferometers are beginning to make the outer structures accessible to direct investigation.

Scientific Questions: Potentially resolvable structures include the obscuring regions of the unified scheme, which appear to be multiple and more complex than had long been assumed outflows from the nucleus, which must be quantified to understand feedback onto galaxy formation and evolution, and illumination patterns by the nucleus onto the host ISM. High angular resolution studies will thus probe AGN structure, accretion physics and AGN/galaxy feedback.

Scientific Methodology: I am beginning, with a broad-based team, studies of AGNs by all 3 means: HST Cycle 17 proposals with NICMOS/WFC3 MMT AO near-IR emission line imaging studies for interferometry at 1 milli-arcsecond resolution with the Magelena Ridge Observatory Interferometer. Simulations and studies of imaging reverberation mapping are also envisaged.


Clay Fellow Warren Brown