NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2010B-0608

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Proposal Information for 2010B-0608


PI: Nicholas J. McConnell, University of California, Berkeley, nmcc@astro.berkeley.edu
Address: Astronomy Department, 601 Campbell Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, United States

CoI: James R. Graham, University of California, Berkeley
CoI: Karl Gebhardt, University of Texas, Austin
CoI: Tod R. Lauer, NOAO
CoI: Chung-Pei Ma, University of California, Berkeley
CoI: Douglas Richstone, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
CoI: Remco C. E. van den Bosch, University of Texas, Austin

Title: Weighing Black Holes in the Most Luminous Galaxies

Abstract: We will determine central black hole masses (M_\bullet) in Brightest Cluster Galaxies (BCGs) by obtaining high resolution spectra with Gemini/NIFS and laser guide star adaptive optics (LGS-AO). These observations will reveal how M_\bullet varies with velocity dispersion (\sigma) and luminosity (L) in the most massive galaxies, a regime where the existing M_\bullet-\sigma and M_\bullet-L relationships diverge. If the M_\bullet-L relationship is a better predictor of M_\bullet in BCGs, then our observations of five BCGs accessible to NIFS will more than double the number of black holes observed with M_\bullet > 2 \times 10^9 M_\odot and indicate a present-epoch density one to two orders of magnitude higher in this mass range than that estimated from M_\bullet-\sigma. For semester 2010B we propose to observe a single BCG, NGC 910, in order to demonstrate the capability of measuring M_\bullet with NIFS.


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