NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2010A-0169

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Proposal Information for 2010A-0169


PI: Anil Seth, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, aseth@cfa.harvard.edu
Address: 60 Garden St, MS 20, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

CoI: Nadine Neumayer, ESO
CoI: Nelson Caldwell, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
CoI: Michele Cappellari, Oxford
CoI: Victor Debattista, U. Central Lancashire
CoI: Knut Olsen, NOAO
CoI: Richard McDermid, Gemini
CoI: Nate Bastian, Cambridge/IOA
CoI: Robert Blum, NOAO
CoI: Thomas Puzia, Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics
CoI: Andrew Stephens, Gemini

Title: Surveying Nearby Nuclear Star Clusters

Abstract: Nuclear star clusters, commonly found in lower mass galaxies, have recently been shown to follow the same scaling relation as supermassive black holes between their mass and the mass of their host galaxy. However, unlike supermassive black holes, nuclear star clusters provide a visible record of the accretion of stars and gas into the nucleus. This proposal is a resubmission of a successful 2009A proposal (Band 2) to complete our survey of nuclear star clusters in nearby (D<5 Mpc) galaxies; no data was obtained in 2009A due to weather. Using NIFS with Altair in LGS mode we are obtaining high-resolution kinematic and stellar population information for these clusters. The goal of the survey is to (1) constrain the formation mechanisms and assembly histories of nuclear star clusters, and (2) allow us to estimate nuclear star cluster and potential black hole masses and examine scaling relations with their host galaxies. From our initial observations of four galaxies, we have found that nuclear star clusters in disk galaxies are rotation-dominated systems, and have a preliminary dynamical detection of the lowest-mass central black hole in any galaxy.


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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