Blueshifted absorption lines in the UV and X-ray spectra of active galaxies reveal the presence of massive outflows of ionized gas from their nuclei. The “intrinsic” UV and X-ray absorbers show large global covering factors of the central continuum source, and the inferred mass loss rates are comparable to the mass accretion rates. Many absorbers show variable ionic column densities, which are attributed to a combination of variable ionizing flux and motion of gas into and out of the line of sight. Detailed studies of the intrinsic absorbers, with the assistance of monitoring observations and photoionization models, provide constraints on their kinematics, physical conditions, and locations relative to the central continuum source, which range from the inner nucleus (∼0.01 pc) to the galactic disk or halo (∼10 kpc). Dynamical models that make use of thermal winds, radiation pressure, and/or hydromagnetic flows have reached a level of sophistication that permits comparisons with the observational constraints.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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