Understanding the obscuring torus and the nuclear star formation of AGN using GTC/CanariCam observations

The fueling of black holes occurring in active galactic nuclei (AGN) is fundamental to the evolution of galaxies. AGN themselves are largely explained in the context of a unified theory, by which a geometrically and optically thick torus of gas and dust obscures the AGN central engine. The torus intercepts a substantial amount of flux from the central engine and and reradiates it in the infrared. There are still many open questions about the nature of the torus material and the role of nuclear (< 100 pc) starbursts in feeding and/or obscuring AGNs. In this talk I will present our ESO/GTC large programme which is obtaining CanariCam mid-infrared sub-arcsecond resolution imaging and spectroscopy of a sample of local AGN. I will discuss results on the torus properties of different types of AGN from the modelling of the unresolved infrared emission with the CLUMPY torus models. I will also show that the molecules responsible for the 11.3micron PAH feature survive in the vicinity of the active nucleus and thus this PAH feature can be used to study the star formation activity in AGN.

05/03/2015 - 13:30
Almudena Alonso-Herrero