AAS 200th meeting, Albuquerque, NM, June 2002
Session 51. The New Radio Universe
Topical Session Oral, Wednesday, June 5, 2002, 8:30-10:00am, 10:45am-12:30pm, 2:30-4:00pm, 4:15-6:00pm, Ballroom C

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[51.02] The Environs of Massive Black Holes and Their Relativistic Jets

G.B. Taylor (National Radio Astronomy Observatory)

At the center of every Active Galaxy lurks a supermassive black hole. The copious energy release from the black hole produces an extreme environment in the central parsecs. Understanding this environment is essential since it will likely have an effect on the luminosity of the AGN, jet collimation, and source evolution. With the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) we can use the powerful radio jets as probes of the environment on sub-parsec scales. Recent VLBA polarimetry observations have revealed Faraday Rotation Measures (RMs) of order 10,000 radians/m2 in the central parsecs of radio galaxies and quasars. These substantial RMs require magnetic fields in the AGN environment. Another way of probing the AGN environment is the study of spatially resolved HI and molecular absorption seen against the radio source. By studying the kinematics of the gas, constraints can be placed on the black hole mass and on the extent of the atomic and molecular torus that feeds the inner accretion disk. I will review the recent VLBA observations that have taken advantage of these new techniques to improve our understanding of the AGN environment.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: gtaylor@nrao.edu

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34
© 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.