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Paper: Phenomenology of Active Galactic Nuclei
Volume: 160, Astrophysical Discs: An EC Summer School
Page: 246
Authors: Leahy, J. P.
Abstract: I review the observational data on AGN, focusing especially on results that may be relevant to sub-parsec discs. After emphasizing the essential unity of the different AGN, from LINERs to quasars, I review several observational tracers which have been claimed to be produced by accretion discs. In most cases the interpretation of these data is ambiguous, but the recent detections of redshifted Fe K alpha by ASCA provide convincing evidence for discs. I briefly review the phenomenology of jets in AGN, and emphasize that jets are detected in all classes of AGN, and in radio-loud AGN comprise a major component of the energy budget. Evidence that jets are relativistic is now compelling for all types of radio-loud AGN and is accumulating even for radio-quiet objects. Data on jets provide a long-term record of AGN activity which constrains aspects of disc history including start-up times, alignment stability and precession, lifetimes, and recurrent activity. Finally, I discuss the distinction between radio-quiet and radio loud AGN, which is broad enough to suggest two fundamentally different types of central engine, although it may not be as clear-cut as is sometimes claimed. At present there is no consensus on the nature of this difference. I draw attention to the broad absorption line (BAL) phenomenon, which signposts powerful but uncollimated outflows in radio-quiet AGN, which may correspond to the powerful jets in the radio-loud objects.
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