NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2011A-0606

Small NOAO Logo

Proposal Information for 2011A-0606


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

CoI: Michael Eracleous, The Pennsylvania State University
CoI: Karlen Shahinyan, Wesleyan University
CoI: Jenny Greene, University of Texas at Austin

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 telescope 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. We also wish to carry out important follow-up observations: (1) deep observations with the Hale 5m telescope will be used to confirm the presence of black holes in very low-mass galaxies whose noisy spectra suggest the presence of an AGN, and (2) stellar velocity dispersions obtained with Keck II will be used to shed new light on the nature of black hole/galaxy scaling relations near the bottom of the galaxian food chain.


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



NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2011A-0606

noaoprop-help@noao.edu

Small NOAO Logo