BALQSO spectra explained by shock disruption of galactic clouds

Meir Zeilig-Hess*, Amir Levinson, Xinfeng Xu, Nahum Arav

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Blue-shifted broad absorption lines (BALs) detected in quasar’s spectra are indicative of active galactic nuclei (AGN) outflows. We show, using 2D hydrodynamical simulations, that disruption of interstellar clouds by a fast AGN wind can lead to formation of cold, dense high-speed blobs that give rise to broad absorption features in the transmission spectrum of the AGN continuum source. For a wind velocity of 0.1c and sufficiently high cloud density (nc 104 cm−3; depending on size), absorption troughs with velocities up to about 3000 km s−1can be produced. For slower winds and/or lower cloud density, the anticipated velocity of the absorbing clouds should be smaller.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4325-4333
Number of pages9
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020


  • Galaxies: active
  • ISM: clouds
  • ISM: jets and outflows
  • Quasars: absorption lines


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