Synopses & Reviews
This book contains the proceedings of the June 1991 Heidelberg conference onthe "Physics of Active Galactic Nuclei". Eighteen reviews and many other contributions cover the whole field of AGN research and focus on our present state of knowledge of the different physical processes that account for the phenomenon. The coverage is oriented towards the physical mechanisms rather than a phenomenological description and is organized in five sections: High-Energy Emitting Regions, Disks and Broad-Line Regions, Extended Narrow-Line Regions, Magnetic Fields and Jet Formation, and Unified Schemes and Evolution. Recent spacecraft experiments have enabled the spectral coverage to be completed and thus allow a full analysis of the frequency regime. These new results, incorporated here, considerably modify and complete the empirical input to models and have greatly influenced our present understanding of the relevant physical processes discussed in these proceedings.
The physical processes driving the different manifestations of the phe- nomenon of active galactic nuclei have been studied extensively during the last decade. A major obstacle in all attempts to understand the relevant pro- cesses has always been the wide range of frequencies over which significant fractions of the total power are emitted. During the last decade, orbiting telescopes and instrumental improvements for ground-based instrumenta- tion provided the means for major advancements on the observational side. The organizers felt that it was timely to organize a meeting to discuss the impact of this new situation on the understanding of the relevant physical processes. More then 400 astrophysicists were interested in participating in the meeting, in spite of the constraints on overseas travel which were imposed in early 1991. Unfortunately only 220 participants could be hosted by the Max-Planck-Haus, the site of the 1991 Heidelberg conference. The meet- ing was organized by Sonderforschungsbereich 328 "Evolution of Galaxies." During 5 sessions, most of which lasted for one day each, 47 invited and con- tributed talks and 150 poster papers were given, most, but not all, of which are included in these proceedings. With a few exceptions the order of the written texts follows that of the oral contributions during the meeting. The arrangement of posters into the five sections was not always unambiguous. We hope to have placed them in the most appropriate sections, in which they are listed in alphabetical order.
Active galactic nuclei (AGNs) are regions of special astrophysical interest. This book contains a wide range of reviews and original work across the entire field of AGN research, with strong emphasis being given to the physical processes that drive AGNs, rather than morphological descriptions.