AAS 204th Meeting, June 2004
Session 22 Pierce Prize Lecture: X-raying Active Galaxies
Invited, Monday, May 31, 2004, 11:40am-12:30pm, 603/605/607

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[22.01] X-raying Active Galaxies Both Near and Far: Exploring the Environments of Supermassive Black Holes

W.N. Brandt (Penn State)

X-ray emission appears to be a universal property of active galactic nuclei (AGN), and many AGN emit a substantial fraction of their total power in the X-ray band. This emission originates primarily in the black hole's immediate vicinity, and X-ray investigations probe the accretion processes by which black holes grow as well as the larger scale nuclear environment. Over the past few years, my research group has been fortunate to utilize wonderful AGN observations made by the Chandra X-ray Observatory and XMM-Newton, and I will describe some of our results. In relatively nearby Seyfert galaxies and Broad Absorption Line quasars, spectroscopy has clarified the kinematics, physical conditions, and geometry of X-ray absorbing outflows, a major nuclear component. Such outflows eject copious mass and kinetic energy from the black hole region, affecting the AGN's vicinity. In the more distant Universe, deep X-ray surveys such as the Chandra Deep Field-North have found the highest known sky density and variety of AGN. I will discuss some of the notable AGN types discovered and the completeness of AGN selection in such surveys. I will also review X-ray constraints on the AGN content of submillimeter, infrared, and radio sources as well as on the physics and demography of high-redshift AGN. Finally, some future prospects for advancing these lines of research will be outlined.

Research funding from NASA and NSF is gratefully acknowledged. All of my group members and collaborators are thanked for their great efforts and support.

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