Why does Low-Luminosity AGN Fueling Remain an Unsolved Problem?

Martini, P., 2004, To appear in "The Interplay among Black Holes, Stars and ISM in Galactic Nuclei, " Proc. IAU 222, eds. Th. Storchi Bergmann, L.C. Ho, H.R. Schmitt, in press

Despite many years of effort, observational studies have not found a strong correlation between the presence of any proposed fueling mechanism and low-luminosity AGN. After a discussion of the mass requirements for fueling, I summarize this observational work and provide a number of hypotheses for why the nature of AGN fueling has remained unresolved. In particular, I stress the potential importance of the increasing number of candidate fueling mechanisms with decreasing mass accretion rate, the relevant spatial scales for different fueling mechanisms, and the lifetime of an individual episode of nuclear accretion. The episodic AGN lifetime is a particularly relevant complication if it is comparable to or shorter than the time that the responsible fueling mechanisms are observationally detectable. I conclude with a number of relatively accessible areas for future investigation.

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