Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2016

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors



First Advisor

Dr. Julie Comerford

Second Advisor

Dr. Erica Ellingson

Third Advisor

Dr. Michael Dubson

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Francisco Muller-Sanchez


The physical structure of active galactic nuclei (AGN) is a topic of great importance for the understanding of galactic structure and evolution. Due to their nature, high spatial resolution observations are needed to study their properties in detail. We have acquired Keck/OSIRIS adaptive optics-assisted integral field spectroscopy of 40 nearby AGN. In this thesis, we have analyzed the spatial distribution and two-dimensional kinematics of the molecular and ionized gas in the Seyfert 2 galaxy NGC 5506. Since this is a nearly edge-on galaxy, the data allow us to study the motion of gas perpendicular to the galaxy disc and assess the impact of AGN-driven outflows in the evolution of the host galaxy. We show evidence of a dual outflow from the circumnuclear region of the galaxy. We observe redshifted outflows of H2, [He I] and [Si VI] to the northeast, with outflows of Brγ blueshifted in the north and redshifted in the south. This evidence suggests that these two outflows consist of an AGN-driven outflow (H2, [He I] and [Si VI]) and a starburst-driven outflow (Brγ). This evidence supports a positive AGN feedback model. The northeastern outflow from the AGN suggests a misalignment between the galactic plane and the central torus proposed in the unified model of active galaxies.