The role of the accretion disk, dust, and jets in the IR emission of low-luminosity AGN

We use recent high-resolution infrared (IR; 1 – 20 micron) photometry to examine the origin of the IR emission in low-luminosity active galactic nuclei (LLAGN). The data are compared with published model fits that describe the spectral energy distribution of LLAGN in terms of an advection-dominated accretion flow (ADAF), truncated thin accretion disk, and jet. The truncated disk in these models is usually not luminous enough to explain the observed IR emission, and in all cases its spectral shape is much narrower than the broad IR peaks in the data. Synchrotron radiation from the jet appears to be important in very radio-loud nuclei, but the detection of strong silicate emission features in many objects indicates that dust must also contribute. We investigate this point by fitting the IR SED of NGC 3998 using dusty torus and optically thin (tau_MIR ~ 1) dust shell models. While more detailed modeling is necessary, these initial results suggest that dust may account for the nuclear mid-IR emission of many LLAGN.

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Date added: Tue, 8 Oct 13