Morphology of AGN emission-line regions in SDSS-IV MaNGA survey

Zhicheng He, Ai Lei Sun, Nadia L. Zakamska, Dominika Wylezalek, Michael Kelly, Jenny E. Greene, Sandro B. Rembold, Rogério Riffel, Rogemar A. Riffel

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10 Scopus citations


Extended narrow-line regions (NLRs) around active galactic nuclei (AGN) are shaped by the distribution of gas in the host galaxy and by the geometry of the circumnuclear obscuration, and thus they can be used to test the AGN unification model. In this work, we quantify the morphologies of the NLRs in 308 nearby AGN (z = 0 - 0.14, Lbol∼1042.4-44.1 erg s-1) from the MaNGA survey. Based on the NLR maps, we find that a large fraction (81 per cent) of these AGN have bi-conical NLR morphology. The distribution of their measured opening angles suggests that the intrinsic opening angles of the ionization cones have a mean value of 85°-98° with a finite spread of 39°-44° (1σ). Our inferred opening angle distribution implies a number ratio of type I to type II AGN of 1:1.6-2.3, consistent with other measurements of the type I/type II ratio at low AGN luminosities. Combining these measurements with the WISE photometry data, we find that redder mid-IR colour (lower effective temperature of dust) corresponds to stronger and narrower photoionized bicones. This relation is in agreement with the unification model that suggests that the bi-conical NLRs are shaped by a toroidal dusty structure within a few pc from the AGN. Furthermore, we find a significant alignment between the minor axis of host galaxy discs and AGN ionization cones. Together, these findings suggest that obscuration on both circumnuclear (∼pc) and galactic (∼kpc) scales is important in shaping and orienting the AGN NLRs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3614-3626
Number of pages13
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 11 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • galaxies: Seyfert
  • galaxies: active
  • galaxies: general
  • galaxies: structure


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