AdvisorRieke, George H.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis thesis contains complementary aspects of the Seyfert phenomenon, each of which is analysed to bring a better understanding of present unification theories. Observations of the nuclear regions of various types of Seyfert galaxies were mostly made at infrared wavelengths which allow the study of dusty environments and provide new information on the physical conditions of these objects. For example, near infrared spectroscopy of Seyfert 2 galaxies revealed that there is a subclass of type 2 Seyferts with hot IR excess at ∼3μm with broad IR emission lines suggesting that some Seyfert 2s do in fact contain a hidden Seyfert 1 nucleus. Additional spectropolarimetry showed that the scattering screens, postulated in the standard model, are not always present in Seyfert 2s. At mid infrared wavelengths, it was found that the 10μm nuclear emission of Seyferts with broad emission lines is intrinsically brighter than that of Seyferts with no broad lines. The extended 10mum emission shows that Seyfert 2 galaxies present enhanced star-formation when compared to Seyfert 1s. Both results pose obstacles for present unification ideas and I discuss possible interpretations to these observations. Seyfert galaxies were also observed at radio wavelengths to study their large scale emission of 1-0 CO. Surprisingly, this emission usually related with star formation activity was found to be similar in both types of Seyfert galaxies and therefore does not explain why Seyfert 2 galaxies have enhanced star formation as concluded in the 10mum study. A study of galaxy morphology and companions in this set of Seyferts shows at a significant statistical level that Seyfert 2s present a higher incidence of asymmetric morphologies compared to Seyfert 1s and field galaxies, and therefore are undergoing gravitational perturbations which may induce star formation. Near infrared spectroscopy of a large sample of Seyfert galaxies is analysed to study the excitation mechanisms of [FeII] and H₂ lines in the NLR of Seyfert galaxies, a subject which is in great debate at present. Here I present some results indicating that shock excitation is likely, but not always, the dominant mechanism that excites these IR lines.
Degree ProgramGraduate College