The goal of this project is to use the technique of integral field spectroscopy to conduct a systematic study of the circum-nuclear gas in a large sample of active galaxies spanning a wide range in nuclear activity, to identify the mechanism for mass inflow into the central black hole. Specifically, the research will (1) determine the incidence of gas streaming motions associated with spiral dust features and quantify the mass inflow rates; (2) map outflows in high excitation gas on similar scales, to investigate the relationship between inflows, black hole power and outflows. The work will test theoretical predictions that spiral instabilities on sub-kiloparsec scales generate gas inflows compatible with the accretion rates inferred for local active galaxies, providing new insights into nuclear triggering and fuelling mechanisms and constraining supermassive black hole growth rates in the local Universe.

Broader impacts of the work include training of undergraduate and graduate students in spectroscopic research techniques. Involved undergraduate and high school students will participate in the RIT Insight Lab's "Research Incubator," which offers many opportunities to promote their development.

Agency
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Institute
Division of Astronomical Sciences (AST)
Application #
1108786
Program Officer
Richard E. Barvainis
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
2011-09-15
Budget End
2014-08-31
Support Year
Fiscal Year
2011
Total Cost
$238,860
Indirect Cost
Name
Rochester Institute of Tech
Department
Type
DUNS #
City
Rochester
State
NY
Country
United States
Zip Code
14623