AuthorMcLeod, Kim Katris.
Committee ChairRieke, George H.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractWe present near-infrared images of nearly 100 host galaxies of Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN). Our quasar sample is comprised of the 50 quasars from the Palomar Green Bright Quasar Survey with redshifts z ≤ 0.3. We have restricted the redshift range to ensure adequate spatial resolution, galaxy detectability, and minimal distance-dependent effects, while still giving a large sample of objects. For lower-luminosity AGN we have chosen to image the CfA Seyfert sample. This sample is composed of 48 Seyferts, roughly equally divided among types 1, 1.5-1.9, and 2. This sample was spectroscopically selected, and, therefore, is not biased towards Seyferts with significant star formation. Taken together, these samples allow a statistical look at the continuity of host galaxy properties over a factor of 10,000 in nuclear luminosity. We find the near-infrared light to be a good tracer of luminous mass in these galaxies. The Seyferts are found in galaxies of type S0 to Sc. The radio quiet quasars live in similar kinds of galaxies spanning the same range of mass centered around L*. However, for the most luminous quasars, there is a correlation between the minimum host galaxy mass and the luminosity of the active nucleus. Radio-loud quasars are generally found in hosts more massive than an L* galaxy. We also detect a population of low mass host galaxies with very low luminosity Seyfert nuclei. The low luminosity quasars and the Seyferts both tend to lie in host galaxies seen preferentially face-on, which suggests there is a substantial amount of obscuration coplanar with the galaxian disk. The obscuration must be geometrically thick (thickness-to-radius ∼ 1) and must cover a significant fraction of the narrow line region (r >100 pc). We have examined our images for signs of perturbations that could drive fuel toward the galaxy nucleus, but there are none we can identify at a significant level. The critical element for fueling is evidently not reflected clearly in the large scale distribution of luminous mass in the galaxy. We also present an infrared image of the jet of 3C 273 and compare it to optical and radio images from the literature.