In this paper, we show that if the broad-line region clouds are in approximate energy equipartition between the magnetic field and gravity, as hypothesized by Rees, there will be a significant effect on the shape and smoothness of broad emission-line profiles in active galactic nuclei. Linewidths of contributing clouds or flow elements are much wider than their thermal widths, because of the presence of non-dissipative magnetohydrodynamic waves and their collective contribution produce emission-line profiles broader and smoother than would be expected if a magnetic field were not present. As an illustration, a simple model of isotropically emitting clouds, normally distributed in velocity, is used to show that smoothness can be achieved for less than ∼8×104 clouds and may even be as low as a few hundred. We conclude that magnetic confinement has far-reaching consequences for observing and modelling active galactic nuclei.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Bottorff, M. C. and Ferland, Gary J., "Magnetic Confinement, Magnetohydrodynamic Waves and Smooth Line Profiles in Active Galactic Nuclei" (2000). Physics and Astronomy Faculty Publications. 49.