A&A 482, 67-80 (2008)
Three-dimensional radiative transfer models of clumpy tori in Seyfert galaxiesM. Schartmann1, K. Meisenheimer1, M. Camenzind2, S. Wolf1, K. R. W. Tristram1, and T. Henning1
1 Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie (MPIA), Königstuhl 17, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
2 ZAH, Landessternwarte Heidelberg, Königstuhl 12, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
(Received 23 October 2007 / Accepted 29 January 2008)
Context. Tori of Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) are made up of a mixture of hot and cold gas, as well as dust. In order to protect the dust grains from destruction by the surrounding hot gas as well as by the energetic (UV/optical) radiation from the accretion disk, the dust is often assumed to be distributed in clouds.
Aims. A new three-dimensional model of AGN dust tori is extensively investigated. The torus is modelled as a wedge-shaped disk within which dusty clouds are randomly distributed throughout the volume, by taking the dust density distribution of the corresponding continuous model into account. We especially concentrate on the differences between clumpy and continuous models in terms of the temperature distributions, the surface brightness distributions and interferometric visibilities, as well as spectral energy distributions.
Methods. Radiative transfer calculations with the help of the three-dimensional Monte Carlo radiative transfer code MC3D are used in order to simulate spectral energy distributions as well as surface brightness distributions at various wavelengths. In a second step, interferometric visibilities for various inclination as well as position angles and baselines are calculated, which can be used to directly compare our models to interferometric observations with the MIDI instrument.
Results. We find that the radial temperature distributions of clumpy models possess significantly enhanced scatter compared to the continuous cases. Even at large distances, clouds can be heated directly by the central accretion disk. The existence of the silicate 10 m-feature in absorption or in emission depends sensitively on the distribution, the size and optical depth of clouds in the innermost part of the dust distribution. With this explanation, failure and success of previous modelling efforts of clumpy tori can be understood. The main reason for this outcome are shadowing effects of clouds within the central region. We underline this result with the help of several parameter variations. After adapting the parameters of our clumpy standard model to the circumstances of the Seyfert 2 Circinus galaxy, it can qualitatively explain recent mid-infrared interferometric observations performed with MIDI, as well as high resolution spectral data.
Key words: galaxies: active -- galaxies: nuclei -- galaxies: Seyfert -- radiative transfer -- ISM: dust, extinction -- galaxies: individual: Circinus
© ESO 2008