Back to Volume
Paper: Water Masers in AGN Accretion Disks
Volume: 402, Approaching Micro-Arcsecond Resolution with VSOP-2: Astrophysics and Technologies
Page: 274
Authors: Braatz, J.A.; Reid, M.J.; Greenhill, L.J.; Kuo, C.-Y.; Condon, J.J.; Lo, K.-Y.; Henkel, C.
Abstract: Water vapor masers at 22 GHz have been detected in over 100 galaxies, most of them AGNs. High resolution VLBI observations of these masers provide the only opportunity for direct imaging of sub-parsec structure in AGN accretion disks. The key science goals associated with such observations are concentrated in two areas. First, observations of nearby, bright sources, exemplified by NGC 4258, enable unique investigations of accretion disk geometry, substructure, thickness, and rotation properties. Second, when combined with spectral line monitoring, VLBI imaging and subsequent disk modeling enables the estimation of a distance to the host galaxy independent of standard candle arguments. In this contribution we present VLBI observations of two maser disk systems in galaxies well into the Hubble flow, UGC 3789 and NGC 6323. A long term goal in these studies is to measure the Hubble constant with high precision and, as a complement to CMB observations, constrain several key cosmological parameters, including the equation of state for dark energy. Observations with VSOP-2 at 22 GHz will have the resolution critical for mapping substructure in these accretion disks and will contribute to reducing systematic errors in the measurement of distances to galaxies.
Back to Volume