The Close AGN Reference Survey (CARS)

The Close AGN Reference Survey (CARS) aims to provide the most detail view on a sample of 40 nearby unobscured AGN (0.01<z<0.06). It is nothing less to establish the reference data set for AGN host galaxies that in particular observation of high-redshift AGN will be compared.  CARS will be unique as we will systematically combine spatially resolved observations across the entire electro-magnetic spectrum from X-ray to radio for a representative sample of AGN. This is only possible by combining many different observatories and using state-of-the-art instrumentation. The project started by acquiring panchromatic optical integral-field spectroscopy with the 2nd generation instrument at the Very Large Telescope called Multi-Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE). Deep NIR and optical ground-based imaging exists or will be taken for the entire sample. A large number of different other observations are planned to complete the multi-wavelength coverage with a minimum of spatial resolution. The list below given an indication for the data we plan to obtain:

  • optical IFU spectroscopy with MUSE over 1'x1' FoV (fully taken)
  • deep ground-based and optical and NIR imaging (mostly taken)
  • deep Chandra X-ray mapping of galaxies with evidence for hot gas outflows (taken for 2 highlight galaxies)
  • spatially resolved molecular line diagnostics and kinematics (in the queue for ALMA)
  • VLA 21cm and continuum observation for atomic gas distribution and kinematics (taken or in the queue)
  • SOFIA FIR line mapping of [CII] and [OI] with FIFI-LS  (taken for 4 targets and more observations are in planning)
  • AO-assisted NIR integral-field spectroscopy to resolve the gas and stars with <200pc resolution (planned)
  • UV continuum and LyAlpha imaging with HST (planned)

Reconstructed color images for two AGN host galaxies observed with the integral field spectraph MUSE (credit: ESO). Blue colors indicated star forming regions whereas green colors indicate gas ionized by the radiation of the AGN.