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Emission Spectra

1995

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Full-Text Articles in Physics

Optically Thin Broad-Line Clouds In Active Galactic Nuclei, Joseph C. Shields, Gary J. Ferland, Bradley M. Peterson Mar 1995

Optically Thin Broad-Line Clouds In Active Galactic Nuclei, Joseph C. Shields, Gary J. Ferland, Bradley M. Peterson

Physics and Astronomy Faculty Publications

The broad-line region (BLR) in Seyfert galaxy nuclei exhibits correlated variations in continuum and emission-line luminosity that are qualitatively consistent with photoionization of ionization-bounded (optically thick) clouds. However, evidence is growing that a nonnegligible fraction of the BLR cloud population is optically thin to the Lyman continuum and fully ionized in hydrogen. We consider the implications of this nebular component for observed line emission and find that inclusion of thin clouds in photoionization calculations can resolve several outstanding puzzles of Seyfert variability, notably the behavior of the C IV λ1549/Lyα ratio as a function of continuum luminosity ...