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Title: Active galactic nucleus and quasar science with aperture masking interferometry on the James Webb Space Telescope

Due to feedback from accretion onto supermassive black holes (SMBHs), active galactic nuclei (AGNs) are believed to play a key role in ΛCDM cosmology and galaxy formation. However, AGNs extreme luminosities and the small angular size of their accretion flows create a challenging imaging problem. We show that the James Webb Space Telescope's Near Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (JWST-NIRISS) Aperture Masking Interferometry (AMI) mode will enable true imaging (i.e., without any requirement of prior assumptions on source geometry) at ∼65 mas angular resolution at the centers of AGNs. This is advantageous for studying complex extended accretion flows around SMBHs and in other areas of angular-resolution-limited astrophysics. By simulating data sequences incorporating expected sources of noise, we demonstrate that JWST-NIRISS AMI mode can map extended structure at a pixel-to-pixel contrast of ∼10{sup –2} around an L = 7.5 point source, using short exposure times (minutes). Such images will test models of AGN feedback, fueling, and structure (complementary with ALMA observations), and are not currently supported by any ground-based IR interferometer or telescope. Binary point source contrast with NIRISS is ∼10{sup –4} (for observing binary nuclei in merging galaxies), significantly better than current ground-based optical or IR interferometry. JWST-NIRISS's seven-hole non-redundantmore » mask has a throughput of 15%, and utilizes NIRISS's F277W (2.77 μm), F380M (3.8 μm), F430M (4.3 μm), and F480M (4.8 μm) filters. NIRISS's square pixels are 65 mas per side, with a field of view ∼2' × 2'. We also extrapolate our results to AGN science enabled by non-redundant masking on future 2.4 m and 16 m space telescopes working at long-UV to near-IR wavelengths.« less
Authors:
;  [1] ; ; ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4]
  1. Department of Science, Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York, New York, NY 10007 (United States)
  2. Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218 (United States)
  3. Département de Physique, Université de Montréal, C.P. 6128 Succ. Centre-ville, QC H3C 3J7 (Canada)
  4. Department of Physics and Astronomy, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22351328
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 783; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ACCRETION DISKS; APERTURES; ASTROPHYSICS; BLACK HOLES; COSMOLOGY; DATA ANALYSIS; FEEDBACK; GALAXIES; GALAXY NUCLEI; IMAGE PROCESSING; INTERFEROMETERS; INTERFEROMETRY; LUMINOSITY; NEAR INFRARED RADIATION; POINT SOURCES; QUASARS; RESOLUTION; SPACE; TELESCOPES