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Measuring black hole masses in active galactic nuclei using the polarization of broad emission lines

Abstract : Supermassive black holes (SMBHs) reside in the heart of nearly every massive galaxy in the Universe. Most of them lie dormant, but when the nearby gas is abundant, it will enter an active phase and form an active galactic nucleus (AGN). When in their active phase, SMBHs have a profound effect on the host galaxy evolution and play an important role in shaping their environment. Reliable SMBH mass measuring is therefore an important task in modern astronomy. For that purpose, a method has been recently proposed by Afanasiev & Popovic (2015) that uses the rotation of the polarization plane position angle across the broad emission line profile in order to trace the Keplerian motion and determine the SMBH mass. The goal of the thesis is to theoretically explore the possibilities of this method. In order to do that, we performed numerous radiative transfer simulations for modeling equatorial scattering in AGNs using the code STOKES. We included complex motions present in the system in the form of inflows and outflows, and we also compared our results with observations. We have demonstrated under which circumstances this method can be used to measure the SMBH mass in a new independent way. The second part of this work involves predicting the broad lines polarization when AGNs are powered by supermassive binary black holes (SMBBHs). We treated four different cases with sub-pc SMBBHs, and again modeled equatorial scattering. We obtained a unique polarization signature across the broad lines. We have shown that spectropolarimetry could be a powerful tool and a first step for searching SMBBHs in the future systematic spectropolarimetric surveys.
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Đorđe Savić. Measuring black hole masses in active galactic nuclei using the polarization of broad emission lines. Other. Université de Strasbourg; Univerzitet u Beogradu, 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019STRAE034⟩. ⟨tel-02497608⟩

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