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3.2. Millimetre and infrared emission

Figure 5 gives the average spectrum between 1011Hz and 1014Hz extracted from Fig. 1. This continuum spectral energy distribution is characterised by a power law of index of 0.7 ± 0.1 (between 10µm and 100µm) and a "bump" around a few microns (see below).

Figure 5

Figure 5. The average millimetre-infrared spectrum of 3C 273. Data from Fig. 1. Panels as in Fig. 4.

Early infrared data are presented in [Neugebauer et al. 1979] and in [Rieke & Lebofsky 1979]. [Neugebauer et al. 1979] note that the 3µm flux of 3C 273 and other quasars is in excess of a power law that would link the 1µm and the far infrared fluxes. They suggest that this bump (easier to see in the nu . fnu representation) around 3µm may be due to the presence of heated dust, the emission of which is superimposed on the non thermal emission that extends smoothly from the radio domain. A similar conclusion is reached by [Allen 1980]. The presence of dust within the nucleus might also explain the ratio of Lyalpha to Halpha fluxes which is an order of magnitude less than the theoretical predictions [Hyland et al. 1978]. Dust located within the line emitting region could, according to these authors, lower this line ratio through reddening effects. Indeed, even small amounts of reddening will considerably decrease the Lyalpha flux while the Halpha flux will remain nearly unperturbed. Continuum observations suggest, however, that this dust does not redden the continuum in the same way. There is in fact no indication of substantial reddening in either the UV domain or the X-ray domain (see below) in excess to that caused within our Galaxy.

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