Black Hole Eclipse and the non-existent donut

My old chums Guido Risaliti and Martin Elvis have been in the astro-news this week, with a Chandra press release about the disappearing X-ray emission from NGC 1365. They measured it every two days for a fortnight and in just one measurement it wuzzn’t there – eclipsed by an intervening cloud they reckon. This was touted as “measuring the size of the accretion disc” but I know that Martin and Guido have written papers before claiming that rapid variability of absorption shows that the popular obscuring torus or “donut” model for active galaxies must be wrong. I like this because I too am a donut-sceptic, as set out in this recent conference paper.

So I emailed Martin and asked which it was – donut-destruction or disk-size. The answer seems to both, Martin says there is more cool stuff coming. But how can I tell ? Martin ! Write the damn paper !

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