NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2008B-0224

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Proposal Information for 2008B-0224


PI: Robert T. Zavala Jr., U.S. Naval Observatory, bzavala@nofs.navy.mil
Address: Flagstaff Station, 10391 W Naval Observatory Rd., Flagstaff, AZ 86001, USA

CoI: Alison Peck, ALMA
CoI: Lindsey Pollack, US Santa Cruz
CoI: Cristina Rodriguez, University of New Mexico
CoI: Roger Romani, Stanford University
CoI: Gregory Taylor, University of New Mexico

Title: Completing the picture: Deep imaging of the host galaxy of the closest pair of binary black holes

Abstract: Using the VLBA, we have identified the radio galaxy 0402+379 as the host of a pair of binary black holes separated by a projected distance of just 7 parsecs. This makes 0402+379 the only black hole pair close to the stage when gravitational radiation may be emitted. We have developed a detailed picture of the source using radio observations, HET spectra and archival ROSAT observations. Our present analysis is hampered by the lack of a high resolution optical image. We propose a one night observation of 0402+379, using WIYN and its superb seeing, to produce high resolution, multi-color broad and narrow band images of 0402+379. Our two primary goals are to identify the nature of the host galaxy and whether a nearby companion galaxy is interacting with 0402+379. With a modest allocation of WIYN time we can approximately date the merger that produced the binary BH. This proposal was awarded time in 2007B. However, poor weather during that run brings us back in 2008B.


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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