NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2010A-0485

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Proposal Information for 2010A-0485


PI: Edward Moran, Wesleyan University, emoran@wesleyan.edu
Address: Astronomy Department, Van Vleck Observatory, Middletown, CT 06459, United States

CoI: Michael Eracleous, Penn State University
CoI: Robert Becker, University of California, Davis
CoI: Laura Kay, Barnard College
CoI: Jill Bechtold, University of Arizona

Title: Black Holes in the Milky Way's Backyard

Abstract: A tight connection between the large-scale properties of massive galaxies and the black holes that reside in their nuclei has been established. However, a systematic investigation of the relationship between black holes and galaxies at the lowest masses - vital for constraining cosmological models of their joint evolution - is lacking. We propose to use the Mayall 4m and Hale 5m telescopes to discover weak active nuclei in a large, unbiased sample of the nearest (d < 80 Mpc) galaxies. Observations of the complete sample, which is dominated by faint dwarf galaxies, will ultimately allow us to establish (or place strong limits on) the nature of galaxies that host intermediate-mass black holes, the black hole mass function and ``occupation fraction'' in galaxies, and the faint-end shape of the AGN luminosity function. Our survey has already revealed a significant number of bona fide Seyfert nuclei in dwarf galaxies. These objects are the least massive galaxies known to contain central black holes. Stellar velocity dispersions obtained with MMTO/MAESTRO will shed new light on the nature of black hole/galaxy scaling relations near the bottom of the galaxian food chain.


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NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2010A-0485

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