An unprecedentedly large number of LINERs has been discovered in a recently completed optical spectroscopic survey of nearby galaxies, allowing several statistical properties of the host galaxies and of the line-emitting regions to be examined reliably for the first time. As a consequence of the many detections and some revised classifications, the detailed demographics of emission-line nuclei have been updated from those given in older surveys. Consistent with previous studies, it is found that LINERs are extremely common in the present epoch, comprising approximately 1/3 of all galaxies with B <= 12.5 mag. If all LINERs are nonstellar in origin, then they are the dominant constituents of the active galactic nucleus population. Many fundamental characteristics of LINERs closely resemble those of low-luminosity Seyfert nuclei, although several aspects of their narrow-line regions appear to differ in a systematic manner. These differences could hold important clues to the key parameters controlling the ionization level in active nuclei. Lastly, a substantial fraction of LINERs has been found to contain a broad-line region, yielding direct evidence, at least in these objects, of a physical link between LINERs and classical Seyfert 1 nuclei and QSOs.
The Physics of Liners in View of Recent Observations
- Pub Date:
- Invited review paper to appear in The Physics of LINERs in View of Recent Observations, ed. M. Eracleous, A. P. Koratkar, L. C. Ho, and C. Leitherer (San Francisco: ASP), in press. LaTex, 29 pages. ASP Conference Series macros included