A spectropolarimetric atlas of Seyfert 1 galaxies

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Title: A spectropolarimetric atlas of Seyfert 1 galaxies
Author: Smith, James; Young, Stuart; Robinson, Andrew; Corbett, Elizabeth; Giannuzo, Ester; Axon, David; Hough, James
Abstract: We present optical spectropolarimetry of the nuclei of 36 Seyfert 1 galaxies, obtained with the William Herschel and the Anglo–Australian Telescopes from 1996 to 1999. In 20 of these, the optical emission from the active nucleus is intrinsically polarized. We have measured a significant level of polarization in a further 7 objects but these may be heavily contaminated by Galactic interstellar polarization. The intrinsically polarized Seyfert 1s exhibit a variety of characteristics, with the average polarization ranging from < 0.5 to 5 per cent and many showing variations in both the degree and position angle of polarization across the broad H emission line. We identify a small group of Seyfert 1s that exhibit polarization properties similar to those of Seyfert 2 galaxies in which polarized broad-lines have been discovered. These objects represent direct observational evidence that a Seyfert 2-like far-field polar scattering region is also present in Seyfert 1s. Several other objects have features that can be explained in terms of equatorial scattering of line emission from a rotating disk. We propose that much of the diversity in the polarization properties of Seyfert galaxies can be understood in terms of a model involving both equatorial and polar scattering, the relative importance of the two geometries as sources of polarized light being determined principally by the inclination of the system axis to the line-of-sight. (Refer to PDF file for exact formulas).
Description: RIT community members may access full-text via RIT Libraries licensed databases: http://library.rit.edu/databases/
Record URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1850/1889
Publishers URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-8711.2002.05665.x
Date: 2002-09-27

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