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Searching for the Dust/Molecular Torus in a Typical AGN using Adaptive Optics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 November 2011

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Adaptive Optics Systems are now routinely operated on several 4 meter class telescopes, allowing to achieve angular resolutions down to 70 msec in the near-infrared. Although these Systems have excellent performances, their use for exploring the physics and structure of AGN is still limited for the following reasons: the limiting magnitude of the wavefront sensor is too high, the sensitivity of infrared detectors does not give access to medium/high spectral resolution spectroscopy and the angular resolution achieved does not always fit the apparent size of the physical components responsible for emission features close to the central engine. The new generation of 8 — 10 m class telescopes bring improvements in this matter. However, some interesting results have been obtained so far with Adonis, the ESO La Silla adaptive optics System on the 3.60 meter telescope, in the investigation of AGN structure. In particular, a prominent structure has been detected in the central arcsec core of NGC 1068, which might feature the dusty/molecular torus expected on theoretical grounds.

Research Article
© EAS, EDP Sciences 2002

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