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An overview of active galaxies

Introduction

Unit image

This unit begins by studying evidence leading to our basic hypothesis that active galactic nuclei (AGN) are accreting, supermassive black holes. It also covers some physics of radiation which you will need to be able to interpret the observed emission of AGN, and includes an examination of AGN.

You will be studying a young subject and there are fundamental issues which are still being vigorously debated by the experts and are subject to current research activity. Consequently, it is not possible to give clear definitive explanations of all aspects of the subject.

You may already have become accustomed to reading unfamiliar words and phrases. In this unit, you will not only encounter new and specialised vocabulary, you will meet ideas which are currently being shaped and tested. Do not be dismayed if you fail to immediately grasp the underlying principles behind some of the material you will read: it is possible no-one has yet elucidated them!

This unit is from our archive and is an adapted extract from The energetic universe (S381) which is no longer taught by The Open University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore other courses we offer in this subject area [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

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