Quasar Physics from SDSS, Chandra, and Spitzer

Gordon Richards (Princeton University)

I discuss current and future work regarding the determination of the detailed structure of active galactic nuclei (AGN) and the relationship of AGNs to galaxy formation and evolution. This talk will highlight the areas where the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) can make significant contributions and also where multiwavelength data (particularly X-ray and IR) are crucial. In particular, the large quantity and high quality of the photometry and spectroscopy of quasars in the SDSS allows us to constrain the physical processes behind the optical/UV continuum emission mechanism and also the kinematics of the broad emission and broad absorption line regions. Coupled with Chandra and Spitzer observations, we can hope to create a detailed model of the inner structure of "normal" quasars in the coming years. I further discuss the application of a novel selection algorithm to the SDSS imaging data that will efficiently identify more than one million quasars in the SDSS imaging data. Finally, I discuss the implications of such a sample for gravitational lensing and highlight a particular example where microlensing offers us microarcsecond resolution of a lensed quasar.

  • PDF