Molecular tori in Seyfert galaxies - Feeding the monster and hiding it

07/1988; DOI: 10.1086/166414
Source: NTRS

ABSTRACT The principal properties of the tori of gas which surround Seyfert nuclei are discussed. The internal state of the clouds and their size distribution function are examined, and it is shown that the Jeans mass scale results in clouds which are individually sufficiently opaque to block out the nucleus, and that the balance of processes which controls their size distribution function also forces the covering factor to be of the order of or greater than unity. Where the gravitational potential is dominated by stars, cloud-cloud collisions keep the molecular clouds close to the equatorial plane. Stirring by stellar processes is never strong enough to compete with collisional losses. The position of the inner edge of the torus is determined by a balance between the inward flow of clouds and the rate at which the nuclear continuum can evaporate them.

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