The resolved size and structure of hot dust in the immediate vicinity of AGN

J. Dexter*, J. Shangguan, S. Hönig, M. Kishimoto, D. Lutz, H. Netzer, R. Davies, E. Sturm, O. Pfuhl, A. Amorim, M. Bauböck, W. Brandner, Y. Clénet, P. T. De Zeeuw, A. Eckart, F. Eisenhauer, N. M. Förster Schreiber, F. Gao, P. J.V. Garcia, R. GenzelS. Gillessen, D. Gratadour, A. Jiménez-Rosales, S. Lacour, F. Millour, T. Ott, T. Paumard, K. Perraut, G. Perrin, B. M. Peterson, P. O. Petrucci, M. A. Prieto, D. Rouan, M. Schartmann, T. Shimizu, A. Sternberg, O. Straub, C. Straubmeier, L. J. Tacconi, K. Tristram, P. Vermot, I. Waisberg, F. Widmann, J. Woillez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We use VLTI/GRAVITY near-infrared interferometry measurements of eight bright type 1 AGN to study the size and structure of hot dust that is heated by the central engine. We partially resolve each source, and report Gaussian full width at half-maximum sizes in the range 0.3-0.8 mas. In all but one object, we find no evidence for significant elongation or asymmetry (closure phases ≲ 1°). The narrow range of measured angular sizes is expected given the similar optical flux of our targets, and implies an increasing effective physical radius with bolometric luminosity, as found from previous reverberation and interferometry measurements. The measured sizes for Seyfert galaxies are systematically larger than for the two quasars in our sample when measured relative to the previously reported R  ∼  L1/2 relationship, which is explained by emission at the sublimation radius. This could be evidence of an evolving near-infrared emission region structure as a function of central luminosity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA92
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2020


FundersFunder number
Fun-dação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
Programme National Hautes Energies
National Science FoundationAST 1909711
Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme
Seventh Framework Programme610058, 677117
European Commission
European Research Council
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science16H05731
Fundação para a Ciência e a TecnologiaSFRH/BSAB/142940/2018, UID/FIS/00099/2013
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique


    • Galaxies: Seyfert
    • Galaxies: active
    • Galaxies: nuclei
    • Quasars: general
    • Techniques: interferometric


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