Unified schemes of active galactic nuclei (AGNs) require an obscuring dusty torus around the central engine. The compact sizes (only a few parsecs) determined in recent high-resolution observations require that the obscuring matter be clumpy and located inside the region where the black hole gravity dominates over the galactic bulge. This location is in line with the scenario depicting the torus as the region of the clumpy wind coming off the accretion disk in which the clouds are dusty and optically thick. We study here the outflow scenario within the framework of hydromagnetic disk winds, incorporating the cloud properties determined from detailed modeling of the IR emission from clumpy tori. We find that torus clouds were likely detected in recent water maser observations of NGC 3079. In the wind scenario, the AGN main dynamic channel for release of accreted mass seems to be switching at low luminosities from torus outflow to radio jets. The torus disappears when the bolometric luminosity decreases below ~1042 ergs s-1 because the accretion onto the central black hole can no longer sustain the required cloud outflow rate. This disappearance seems to have been observed in both LINERs and radio galaxies. With further luminosity decrease, suppression of cloud outflow spreads radially inward from the disk's dusty, molecular region into its atomic, ionized zone, resulting in the disappearance of the broad emission-line region at lower luminosities yet to be determined.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Elitzur, Moshe and Shlosman, Isaac, "The AGN-obscuring Torus: The End of the "Doughnut" Paradigm?" (2007). Physics and Astronomy Faculty Publications. 210.