The Role of Relativistic Jets in the Broad Line Region of AGN
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Session 56 -- Luminous AGNs
Oral presentation, Thursday, January 13, 10:15-11:45, Salon III Room (Crystal Gateway)

[56.03] The Role of Relativistic Jets in the Broad Line Region of AGN

J.H. Beall (NRL/GMU/SJC), John Guillory (GMU)

The presence of beams or jets of material moving outward at relativistic velocities from the cores of AGN is likely to have direct relevance for the energy balance and the dynamics of interstellar clouds in the broad (BLR) and narrow (NLR) line regions of the host AGN. For parameter ranges appropriate for the BLR, plasma processes (i.e., the two-stream and oscillating two-stream instabilities) represent the dominant energy loss mechanisms for these beams. Initial calculations and laboratory plasma experiments demonstrate that relativistic jets can transfer significant momentum to the gas through which they propagate and generate high- energy, super-thermal tails to the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution of the ambient electrons in that gas. These high-energy, non-thermal electron tails readily ionize the ambient gas, and may prove to be the dominant source of ionization which produces the line emission for the BLR. In this paper, we demonstrate that it is energetically possible for relativistic jets to provide the line luminosities observed in the BLR of AGN, and show that the electrons in the super-thermal tails generated by the beams have sufficient energy to produce the observed lines by collisional excitation.

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