Invited review at Bologna X-ray Astronomy 1999. To appear in Astrophysical Letters and Communications. (astro-ph/0008459)
Abstract. Low-luminosity AGN (with LX < 1 x 1042 ergs s-1) far outnumber ordinary AGN, and are therefore perhaps more relevant to our understanding of AGN phenomena and the relationship between AGN and host galaxies. Many normal galaxies harbor LINER and starburst nuclei, which, together with LLAGN, are a class of "low-activity" galaxies that have a number of surprisingly similar X-ray characteristics, despite their heterogenous optical classification. This strongly supports the hypothesis of an AGN-starburst connection. Further, X-ray observations of normal galaxies without starburst or AGN-like activity in their nuclei offer opportunities to study populations of X-ray binaries, HII regions, and warm or hot ISM under different conditions than is often the case in the Milky Way. The results of recent X-ray observations of these types of galaxies are reviewed, and what we hope to learn about both nearby and high redshift galaxies of each type from observations with forthcoming and planned satellites is discussed.
Keywords: galaxies; abundances; galaxies:active; galaxies:starburst
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