Fuel For The Black Hole: First Investigations Of A Galactic NucleusWith The Amber Instrument Of The Very Large Telescope Interferometer In Chile


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AstroNews

An international research team led by Gerd Weigelt from the Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie in Bonn reports on high-resolution studies of an active galactic nucleus in the near-infrared. The observations were carried out with the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) of the European Southern Observatory (ESO). The use of near-infrared interferometry allowed the team to resolve a ring-shaped dust distribution (generally called “dust torus”) in the inner region of the nucleus of the active galaxy NGC 3783. This dust torus probably represents the reservoir of gaseous and dusty material that “feeds” the hot gas disk (“accretion disk”) and the supermassive black hole in the center of this galaxy. The resolved dust torus has an angular radius of only 0.7 milli-arcseconds on the sky, an angle that is 5 million times smaller than one degree. This angular radius corresponds to a radius of approximately 0.5 light years for a distance of 150…

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