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Today's colloquium: Diet for the monsters: molecular tori in active galaxies

Submitter: Leonard Burtscher
Description: The feedback that Active Galactic Nuclei generate may play a fundamental role in the evolution of galaxies. We still do not know, however, what triggers nuclear activity since active and inactive galaxies are difficult to tell apart on large scales, probably due to AGN variability. To reveal how the "monsters" inside every galaxy feed, hide and feed back, we therefore need to resolve and understand AGNs on small scales (< 100 pc). This region is typically dominated by a circum-nuclear disk of gas and stars that provides both the feeding for the AGN and the toroidal obscuration required in "unified models" of AGNs. In this talk, I will highlight recent progress in observing and modeling this region in nearby galaxies, which is to a large part due to instruments with participation from the NOVA/IR-group. In the end I will give an outlook of the scientific prospects of ELT/METIS for nearby active galaxies.
Copyright: ESO/WFI (Optical); MPIfR/ESO/APEX/A.Weiss et al. (Submillimetre); NASA/CXC/CfA/R.Kraft et al. (X-ray)
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