NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2001B-0251

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Proposal Information for 2001B-0251


PI: Laura Ferrarese, Rutgers University, lff@physics.rutgers.edu
Address: 136 Frelinghuysen Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA

CoI: Bradley Peterson, Ohio State University
CoI: Richard Pogge, Ohio State University
CoI: David Merritt, Rutgers University
CoI: Amri Wandel, The Hebrew University

Title: Understanding Supermassive Black Holes and Their Host Galaxies

Abstract: Our hopes of understanding the nature of the connection between supermassive black holes (BHs) and their host galaxies have recently been kindled by the discovery that BH mass, and the stellar velocity dispersion of the surrounding bulge, follow a remarkably tight relation, M_BH \propto \sigma^~ 4.5. Important parameters such as the mass density in local black holes, and the impact of galaxy merging on BH evolution, hinge critically on the exact characterization of this relation. The \ms relation is currently defined exclusively by weakly active or quiescent galaxies. In early April 2001, we have been granted 3.5 nights of 4m time to test and extend the validity of the \ms relation to powerful AGNs, by measuring \sigma in nine Seyfert 1 galaxies for which the BH mass is known from `reverberation mapping' studies. Here we ask for 4 additional nights to complete the program by targeting the nine reverberation mapped AGNs visible in the northern autumn sky. Stellar velocity dispersions will be measured from high S/N (~ 50), moderate resolution (~ 5000) long slit spectra optimized in the 8500 A region which includes the CaII absorption triplet. Our goals are: 1) test whether bright AGNs and quiescent galaxies follow a unique \ms relation; and 2) characterize the slope, normalization and scatter of the \ms relation.


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



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