Science in the Media
Session 1: AGN Research

Artist's conception of an active galactic nucleus

Artist’s conception of an active galactic nucleus.

Image Credit: NASA/Dana Berry/SkyWorks Digital


Just like a nucleus is the center of a cell, a galactic nucleus is the center of a galaxy. Use the links below to answer the questions about active galactic nuclei (AGN). Be sure to note which web site(s) you’ve used to answer each question, in case you need to go back for more information.


Questions to answer

  1. What are active galactic nuclei (AGN)?
  2. What is an accretion disk?
  3. Accretion disks in AGN are hard to image because they are very small and far away. How, then, do astronomers study accretion disks in AGN?
  4. What does the “doughnut shaped ring” refer to?
  5. Draw and label a sketch of an AGN complete with accretion disk, black hole, torus and jets.
  6. What is the difference between a quasar, blazar, and a Seyfert galaxy?
  7. What is a “shrouded” AGN or quasars? Why can’t we observe the shrouded AGN in the infrared?

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