Following Black Hole Scaling Relations through Gas-rich Mergers

April 2015 • 2015ApJ...803...61M

Authors • Medling, Anne M. • U, Vivian • Max, Claire E. • Sanders, David B. • Armus, Lee • Holden, Bradford • Mieda, Etsuko • Wright, Shelley A. • Larkin, James E.

Abstract • We present black hole mass measurements from kinematic modeling of high-spatial resolution integral field spectroscopy of the inner regions of nine nearby (ultra-)luminous infrared galaxies in a variety of merger stages. These observations were taken with OSIRIS and laser guide star adaptive optics on the Keck I and Keck II telescopes, and reveal gas and stellar kinematics inside the spheres of influence of these supermassive black holes. We find that this sample of black holes are overmassive (∼107-9 {{M}}) compared to the expected values based on black hole scaling relations, and suggest that the major epoch of black hole growth occurs in early stages of a merger, as opposed to during a final episode of quasar-mode feedback. The black hole masses presented are the dynamical masses enclosed in ∼25 pc, and could include gas which is gravitationally bound to the black hole but has not yet lost sufficient angular momentum to be accreted. If present, this gas could in principle eventually fuel active galactic nucleus feedback or be itself blown out from the system.


IPAC Authors


Lee Armus

Senior Scientist