Hints on the Gradual Resizing of the Torus in AGNs through Decomposition of Spitzer/IRS Spectra

Publication date: 
Main author: 
González-Martín, Omaira
IAA authors: 
Masegosa, Josefa;Márquez, Isabel
González-Martín, Omaira;Masegosa, Josefa;Hernán-Caballero, Antonio;Márquez, Isabel;Ramos Almeida, Cristina;Alonso-Herrero, Almudena;Aretxaga, Itziar;Rodríguez-Espinosa, José Miguel;Acosta-Pulido, Jose Antonio;Hernández-García, Lorena;Esparza-Arredondo, Donaji;Martínez-Paredes, Mariela;Bonfini, Paolo;Pasetto, Alice;Dultzin, Deborah
The Astrophysical Journal
Publication type: 

Several authors have claimed that less luminous active galactic nuclei (AGNs) are not capable of sustaining a dusty torus structure. Thus, a gradual resizing of the torus is expected when the AGN luminosity decreases. Our aim is to examine mid-infrared observations of local AGNs of different luminosities for the gradual resizing and disappearance of the torus. We applied the decomposition method described by Hernán-Caballero et al. to a sample of ∼100 Spitzer/IRS spectra of low-luminosity AGNs and powerful Seyferts in order to decontaminate the torus component from other contributors. We have also included Starburst objects to ensure secure decomposition of the Spitzer/IRS spectra. We have used the affinity propagation (AP) method to cluster the data into five groups within the sample according to torus contribution to the 5─15 μm range ({C}<SUB>{torus</SUB>}) and bolometric luminosity ({L}<SUB>{bol</SUB>}). The AP groups show a progressively higher torus contribution and an increase of the bolometric luminosity from Group 1 ({C}<SUB>{torus</SUB>}∼ 0 % and {log}({L}<SUB>{bol</SUB>})∼ 41) up to Group 5 ({C}<SUB>{torus</SUB>}∼ 80 % and {log}({L}<SUB>{bol</SUB>})∼ 44). We have fitted the average spectra of each of the AP groups to clumpy models. The torus is no longer present in Group 1, supporting its disappearance at low luminosities. We were able to fit the average spectra for the torus component in Groups 3 ({C}<SUB>{torus</SUB>}∼ 40 % and {log}({L}<SUB>{bol</SUB>})∼ 42.6), 4 ({C}<SUB>{torus</SUB>}∼ 60 % and {log}({L}<SUB>{bol</SUB>})∼ 43.7), and 5 to Clumpy torus models. We did not find a good fitting to Clumpy torus models for Group 2 ({C}<SUB>{torus</SUB>}∼ 18 % and {log}({L}<SUB>{bol</SUB>})∼ 42). This might suggest a different configuration and/or composition of the clouds for Group 2, which is consistent with the different gas content seen in Groups 1, 2, and 3, according to detections of {{{H}}}<SUB>2</SUB> molecular lines. Groups 3, 4, and 5 show a trend of decreasing torus width (which leads to a likely decrease of the geometrical covering factor), although we cannot confirm it with the present data. Finally, Groups 3, 4, and 5 show an increase of the outer radius of the torus for higher luminosities, consistent with a resizing of the torus according to AGN luminosity.

ADS Bibcode: 
galaxies: active;galaxies: nuclei;infrared: galaxies