Ultraviolet diagnostics for the emission-line gas in active galaxies

Mark G. Allen, Michael A. Dopita, Zlatan Tsvetanov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

82 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Optical diagnostic diagrams are frequently ambiguous as tests of the photoionization or fast-shock models of the narrow-line regions of active galaxies. Here, we present a set of UV line ratio diagrams that can discriminate between pure shock and photoionization modes of excitation and can, to some extent, also discriminate shocks with ionized precursors from photoionization. These diagrams use relatively bright emission lines and reddening-insensitive ratios and provide a practical observational test for separating the excitation mechanisms of the narrow-line regions of active galaxies. The most useful diagrams are those involving the various ionization stages of carbon, ([O III] λ5007/Hβ) versus (C IV λ1549/ He II λ1640) and the purely UV ratio pair (C II] λ2326/C in] λ1909) versus (C IV λ1549/C III] λ1909). Temperature-sensitive FUV lines, C in λ977 and N III λ991, also provide good discriminants. The models are compared to observations of nearby AGNs and also to high-redshift objects where the UV lines are shifted into the optical.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)571-582
Number of pages12
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume493
Issue number2 PART I
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

active galaxies
diagram
diagrams
photoionization
shock
gases
gas
excitation
ionization
carbon
temperature
test

Keywords

  • Galaxies: nuclei
  • Galaxies: photometry
  • Galaxies: Seyfert
  • Ultraviolet: galaxies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Ultraviolet diagnostics for the emission-line gas in active galaxies. / Allen, Mark G.; Dopita, Michael A.; Tsvetanov, Zlatan.

In: Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 493, No. 2 PART I, 1998, p. 571-582.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Allen, Mark G. ; Dopita, Michael A. ; Tsvetanov, Zlatan. / Ultraviolet diagnostics for the emission-line gas in active galaxies. In: Astrophysical Journal. 1998 ; Vol. 493, No. 2 PART I. pp. 571-582.
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