Author ORCID Identifier

0000-0002-4917-7873

Date of Award

8-13-2019

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

Dr. D. Michael Crenshaw

Second Advisor

Dr. Misty C. Bentz

Third Advisor

Dr. Steven B. Kraemer

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Alexander Kozhanov

Abstract

Observations reveal that supermassive black holes (SMBHs) grow through the accretion of gas at the centers of galaxies as luminous active galactic nuclei (AGN), releasing radiation that drives powerful outflows of ionized and molecular gas. These winds are thought to play a critical role in galaxy evolution by regulating star formation and the growth of galaxies and their SMBHs. To test this model, we must quantify the dynamic impact of outflows by measuring their mass outflow rates and energetics. Using spatially resolved spectroscopy and imaging from the Hubble Space Telescope and Cloudy photoionization models we mapped the ionized gas kinematics and mass distributions of narrow line region (NLR) outflows in nearby active galaxies. We find that the outflows contain up to several million solar masses of ionized gas and are limited to distances of 1 - 2 kiloparsecs from the nucleus. The maximum mass outflow rates are M = 3 - 12 solar masses per year and the outflow gas mass, velocity, radial extent, and energetics are positively correlated with AGN luminosity. We use our results to test simplified techniques with less stringent data requirements and find that they significantly overestimate the gas mass. These results are crucial for modeling powerful outflows at higher redshift that may considerably influence star formation rates and the formation of galactic structure.

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