Invited review, to appear in "Penetrating Bars Through
Masks of Cosmic Dust: The Hubble Tuning Fork Strikes a New Note",
eds. D.L. Block, K.C. Freeman, I. Puerari, R. Groess, & E.K. Block,
Kluwer, in press
For a PDF version of the article, click
For a PDF version of the article, click here.
Abstract. There is considerable evidence that the circumnuclear regions of galaxies are intimately related to their host galaxies, most directly through their bars. There is also convincing evidence for relations between the properties of supermassive black holes in the nuclei of galaxies and those of their host galaxy. It is much less clear, however, how stellar (starburst) and non-stellar (AGN) activity in the nuclear regions can be initiated and fuelled. I review gas transport from the disk to the nuclear and circumnuclear regions of galaxies, as well as the statistical relationships between the occurrence of nuclear activity and mechanisms which can cause central gas concentration, in particular bars and interactions. There are strong indications from theory and modelling for bar-induced central gas concentration, accompanied by limited observational evidence. Bars are related to activity, but this is only a weak statistical effect in the case of Seyferts, whereas the relation is limited to specific cases in starbursts. There is no observational evidence for a statistical connection between interactions and activity in Seyferts, and some evidence for this in starbursts, but probably limited to the extremes, e.g., ULIRGs. Some interesting hints at relations between rings, including nuclear rings, and the presence of nuclear activity are emerging. It is likely that the connection between the inflow of gaseous fuel from the disk of a galaxy on the one hand and the activity in its nuclear region on the other is not as straightforward as sometimes suggested, because the spatial- or time-scales concerned may be significantly different.
Keywords: galaxies: kinematics and dynamics - galaxies: spiral - galaxies: structure - galaxies: active - galaxies: starburst
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