363 research outputs found

    Supermassive Black Holes Then and Now

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    Recent surveys suggest that most or all normal galaxies host a massive black hole with 1/100 to 1/1000 of the visible mass of the spheroid of the galaxy. Various lines of argument suggest that these galaxies have merged at least once in our past lightcone, and that the black holes have also merged. This leads to a merger rate of massive black holes of about 1/\yrs.Comment: 7 pages, to appear in The Proceedings of the Second International LISA Symposium on Graviational Waves, ed. W. Folkne

    A Theoretical Model for the Mbh−σM_{\rm bh}-\sigma Relation for Supermassive Black Holes in Galaxies

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    We construct a model for the formation of black holes within galactic bulges. The initial state is a slowly rotating isothermal sphere, characterized by effective transport speed \aeff and rotation rate Ω\Omega. The black hole mass is determined when the centrifugal radius of the collapse flow exceeds the capture radius of the central black hole. This model reproduces the observed correlation between black hole masses and galactic velocity dispersions, \mbh \approx 10^8 M_\odot (\sigma/200 \kms)^4, where \sigma = \sqrt{2} \aeff. This model also predicts the ratio \mrat of black hole mass to host mass: \mrat ≈\approx 0.004 (\sigma/200 \kms).Comment: 9 pages, 2 figures, submitted to Astrophysical Journal Letter

    Measuring the Radiative Histories of QSOs with the Transverse Proximity Effect

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    Since the photons that stream from QSOs alter the ionization state of the gas they traverse, any changes to a QSO's luminosity will produce outward-propagating ionization gradients in the surrounding intergalactic gas. This paper shows that at redshift z~3 the gradients will alter the gas's Lyman-alpha absorption opacity enough to produce a detectable signature in the spectra of faint background galaxies. By obtaining noisy (S:N~4) low-resolution (~7A) spectra of a several dozen background galaxies in an R~20' field surrounding an isotropically radiating 18th magnitude QSO at z=3, it should be possible to detect any order-of-magnitude changes to the QSO's luminosity over the previous 50--100 Myr and to measure the time t_Q since the onset of the QSO's current luminous outburst with an accuracy of ~5 Myr for t_Q<~50 Myr. Smaller fields-of-view are acceptable for shorter QSO lifetimes. The major uncertainty, aside from cosmic variance, will be the shape and orientation of the QSO's ionization cone. This can be determined from the data if the number of background sources is increased by a factor of a few. The method will then provide a direct test of unification models for AGN.Comment: Accepted for publication in the ApJ. 16 page

    Hypervelocity binary stars: smoking gun of massive binary black holes

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    The hypervelocity stars recently found in the Galactic halo are expelled from the Galactic center through interactions between binary stars and the central massive black hole or between single stars and a hypothetical massive binary black hole. In this paper, we demonstrate that binary stars can be ejected out of the Galactic center with velocities up to 10^3 km/s, while preserving their integrity, through interactions with a massive binary black hole. Binary stars are unlikely to attain such high velocities via scattering by a single massive black hole or through any other mechanisms. Based on the above theoretical prediction, we propose a search for binary systems among the hypervelocity stars. Discovery of hypervelocity binary stars, even one, is a definitive evidence of the existence of a massive binary black hole in the Galactic center.Comment: 5 pages, 3 figures, shortened version, ApJL in pres

    Retaining Black Holes with Very Large Recoil Velocities

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    Recent numerical simulations of binary black hole mergers show the possibility of producing very large recoil velocities (> 3000 km/s). Kicks of this magnitude should be sufficient to eject the final black hole from virtually any galactic potential. This result has been seen as a potential contradiction with observations of supermassive black holes residing in the centers of most galaxies in the local universe. Using an extremely simplified merger tree model, we show that, even in the limit of very large ejection probability, after a small number of merger generations there should still be an appreciable fraction (>50%) of galaxies with supermassive black holes today. We go on to argue that the inclusion of more realistic physics ingredients in the merger model should systematically increase this retention fraction, helping to resolve a potential conflict between theory and observation. Lastly, we develop a more realistic Monte Carlo model to confirm the qualitative arguments and estimate occupation fractions as a function of the central galactic velocity dispersion.Comment: 6 pages, 3 figures; Comments welcom

    The Cosmic Density of Massive Black Holes from Galaxy Velocity Dispersions

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    Supermassive black holes are thought to be relics of quasars, and their numbers and masses are therefore related to the quasar luminosity function and its evolution with redshift. We have used the relationship between black hole mass and bulge velocity dispersion (the M_bullet - sigma relation) to make an improved estimate of the mass density and mass spectrum of supermassive black holes. Uncertainties in the M_bullet - sigma relation have little effect on the mass density. We find a mass density of (4.8 +/- 1.6) h^2 x 10^5 M_sun Mpc^-3. Some of the variance in published density estimates comes from the use of different values of the Hubble constant.Comment: To appear in the December 2002 issue of The Astronomical Journa

    Keplerian Motion of Broad-Line Region Gas as Evidence for Supermassive Black Holes in Active Galactic Nuclei

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    Emission-line variability data on NGC 5548 argue strongly for the existence of a mass of order 7 x 10^7 solar masses within the inner few light days of the nucleus in the Seyfert 1 galaxy NGC 5548. The time-delayed response of the emission lines to continuum variations is used to infer the size of the line-emitting region, and these determinations are combined with measurements of the Doppler widths of the variable line components to estimate a virial mass. The data for several different emission lines spanning an order of magnitude in distance from the central source show the expected V proportional to r^{-1/2} correlation and are consistent with a single value for the mass.Comment: 9 pages, 2 Figures. accepted by ApJ Letter

    The Black Hole to Bulge Mass Relation in Active Galactic Nuclei

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    The masses of the central black holes in Active Galactic Nuclei (AGNs) can be estimated using the broad emission-lines as a probe of the virial mass. Using reverberation mapping to determine the size of the Broad Line Region (BLR) and the width of the variable component of the line profile HÎČ\beta line it is possible to find quite accurate virial mass estimates for AGNs with adequate data. Compiling a sample of AGNs with reliable central masses and bulge magnitudes we find an average black-hole-to-bulge mass ratio of 0.0003, a factor of 20 less than the value found for normal galaxies and for bright quasars. This lower ratio is more consistent with the back hole mass density predicted from quasar light, and is similar to the central black hole/bulge mass ratio in our Galaxy. We argue that the black hole/bulge mass ratio actually has a significantly larger range than indicated by mssive black holes detected in normal galaxies (using stellar dynamics) and in bright quasars, which may be biased towards large black holes. We derive a scenario of black hole growth that explains the observed distribution.Comment: 12 pages LaTeX, including 2 revised figures, revised table. Revised version to be published in the Astrophysical Journal (Letters) Ap.J.Lett. 51

    Evolution of Supermassive Black Holes from Cosmological Simulations

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    The correlations between the mass of supermassive black holes and properties of their host galaxies are investigated through cosmological simulations. Black holes grow from seeds of 100 solar masses inserted into density peaks present in the redshift range 12-15. Seeds grow essentially by accreting matter from a nuclear disk and also by coalescences resulting from merger episodes. At z=0, our simulations reproduce the black hole mass function and the correlations of the black hole mass both with stellar velocity dispersion and host dark halo mass. Moreover, the evolution of the black hole mass density derived from the present simulations agrees with that derived from the bolometric luminosity function of quasars, indicating that the average accretion history of seeds is adequately reproduced . However, our simulations are unable to form black holes with masses above 109M⊙10^9 M_{\odot} at z∌6z\sim 6, whose existence is inferred from the bright quasars detected by the Sloan survey in this redshift range.Comment: Talk given at the International Workshop on Astronomy and Relativistic Astrophysics (IWARA 2009), Maresias, Brazil. to be published in the International Journal of Modern Physics