Open Questions: Quasars and Active Galactic Nuclei

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See also: Black holes -- Galaxy formation, structure, and evolution

The Seyfert active galaxy Circinus

See Space Telescope Science Institute pages for more information.



Active galaxtic nuclei


Recommended references: Web sites

Recommended references: Magazine/journal articles

Recommended references: Books


Recommended references: Web sites

Site indexes

Open Directory Project: Active Galactic Nuclei and Quasars
Categorized and annotated links. A version of this list is at Google, with entries sorted in "page rank" order. May also be found at Netscape.
Galaxy: Quasars
Categorized site directory. Entries usually include descriptive annotations.

Sites with general resources

Quasars and Active Galactic Nuclei
Contains good tutorial material on the subject, and a large collection of related images. From the home page of William C. Keel.
Canada-France High-z Quasar Survey
"The Canada-France High-z Quasar Survey (CFHQS) is an ambitious survey to discover a large sample of the most distant quasars. Such quasars allow us to probe the growth of black holes and galaxies in the early universe and the reionization of the diffuse intergalactic medium by the first substantial population of stars."
The 2dF QSO Redshift Survey (2QZ)
Home page of a research project (completed in 2002) to collect redshift (distance) data on quasars.

Surveys, overviews, tutorials

Active galaxy
Article from Wikipedia. See also Quasar, Seyfert galaxy, Blazar.
Frequently Asked Questions About Quasars
Very good set of questions and answers, by John Simonetti.
Ask a High-Energy Astronomer: Quasars and Active Galaxies
Common questions, with answers, provided by NASA's Ask a High-Energy Astronomer service.
Quasars & Active Galaxies
Good explanations and external links, part of Gene Smith's Astronomy Tutorial. See also A Bestiary of Active Galaxies.
Active Galactic Nuclei
Part of NASA's High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center. Contains images of active galaxies and links to additional resources.
Active Galaxies and Quasars
Part of NASA's Imagine the Universe site. Contains basic information about active galaxies and quasars, and links to related topics. There is also a more advanced level page on this topic.
Quasars & Active Galaxies
Part of the Chandra X-Ray Observatory Center site. Provides general information on quasars and active galaxies.
Quasars: The Real Heavyweights
Brief discussion on quasars, at Simon Vaughan's black hole page.
Micro-quasars, Quasars, and Radio Galaxies
Brief, single-page overview.
Deepest ever picture of the universe reveals new quasar
March 2001 news article from PhysicsWeb about the discovery of a quasar at a distance of 12 billion light years.
Gas cloud defines extragalactic distance
August 1999 news article from Physics World, about the determination of a precise distance to a nearby active galaxy.
Galactic nuclei outdistances quasars
May 1999 news article from Physics World, about discovery of the earliest and most distant active galactic nucleus.
Hubble Captures an Extraordinary and Powerful Active Galaxy
November 30, 2000 press release and related information from the Space Telescope Science Institute. The object in question is the Seyfert galaxy known as Circinus.
Surveys for High Redshift Quasars
Brief description of research to locate distant quasars.
Hubble Spies an Active Galaxy in Circinus
December 2000 Scientific American news story about a type 2 Seyfert galaxy.
Is the violent behavior of quasars caused by black holes in galaxies?
October 1999 Scientific American "Ask the Experts" article. Response by Roeland van der Marel.
Galactic Gushers
February 1997 Scientific American Science and the Citizen article, subtitled "Evidence mounts that black holes drive all quasars."
Some Black Holes Are Pink
May 1999 news article about a quasar that is pink in color.

Technical papers

Quasars at z=6: the survival of the fittest
July 2006 paper by M. Volonteri and M. J. Rees. Some supermassive black holes having masses of more than a billion solar masses occur at redshifts in excess of 6 and therefore formed less than a billion years after the big bang. This presents difficulties explaining the high rate of growth. A solution to the problem is proposed.

Recommended references: Magazine/journal articles

Quasars Explained
William Keel
Astronomy, February 2003, pp. 34-41
Quasars are powered by supermassive black holes at the centers of certain galaxies. The major questions about them are: (1) What role do the play in the evolution of their host galaxies? (2) How, in detail, do they develop over time? (3) How did they, apparently, start to show up so early in the history of the universe?
Quasars Next Door
Mark A. Garlick
Astronomy, July 2001, pp. 34-39
Microquasars are relatively nearby objects that probably consist of accretion disks of matter surrounding stellar-scale black holes and neutron stars. Like galactic quasars they emit copious quantities of charged particles and x-rays, and may provide a more accessible model for understanding quasars.
A New Look at Quasars
Michael Disney
Scientific American, June 1998, pp. 52-57
The Hubble telescope is providing new evidence for the model of quasars as massive black holes in acive galactic nuclei.
Colossal Galactic Explosions
Sylvain Veilleux, Gerald Cecil, Jonathan Bland-Hawthorn
Scientific American, February 1996, pp. 98-103
The source of the energy in active galactic nuclei is usually thought to be massive black holes, but may also include extremely rapid star formation.

Recommended references: Books

G. Setti; J.-P. Swings, eds. -- Quasars, AGNs, and Related Research Across 2000
Springer-Verlag, 2001
Proceedings of a technical conference held in Italy in 2000. (The text is in English.) Although intended for specialists, most of it is understandable by anyone who has mastered a college astronomy course. The volume is relatively small, yet contains 20 papers. Some deal with various techniques of studying quasars and AGNs, while others describe the most interesting open questions.
Ajit K. Kembhave, Jayant V. Narlikar - Quasars and Active Galactic Nuclei: An Introduction
Cambridge University Press, 1999
Technical introduction to both observational results and theoretical models.
Bradley M. Peterson - An Introduction to Active Galactic Nuclei
Cambridge University Press, 1997
Technical survey with some mathematics. Topics include quasars, other type of active galactic nuclei, observational details, theoretical models.


Copyright © 2002 by Charles Daney, All Rights Reserved