NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2012B-0208

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Proposal Information for 2012B-0208


PI: Jonelle Walsh, The University of Texas at Austin, jlwalsh@astro.as.utexas.edu
Address: Department of Astronomy, 2515 Speedway, Stop C1400, Austin, TX 78712-1205, USA

CoI: Remco van den Bosch, Max Planck Institute for Astronomy
CoI: Kayhan Gultekin, University of Michigan
CoI: Karl Gebhardt, The University of Texas at Austin
CoI: Douglas Richstone, University of Michigan

Title: Examining Massive Black Holes in Small, High-Dispersion Galaxies

Abstract: Correlations linking the mass of the black hole (M_\mathrmBH) in the centers of galaxies to bulge properties have been clearly established over the past decade. However, there remain major open questions concerning the sparsely populated upper end of the M_\mathrmBH distribution. From our spectroscopic survey of 600 galaxies, we have selected two that have the most extreme characteristics. With stellar velocity dispersions of \sigma_\star > 330 km s^-1, Mrk 1216 and NGC 1271 could host some of the most massive black holes known. These galaxies are rapidly rotating, very compact, and have surprisingly small luminosities (L_\mathrmbul) for their large dispersions, in sharp contrast to the objects typically found at the upper end of the M_\mathrmBH - bulge relations. Virial mass estimates place these objects a factor of ~4 and ~50 above the M_\mathrmBH - \sigma_\star and M_\mathrmBH - L_\mathrmbul relations, respectively. With AO-assisted NIFS observations, we will carry out a stellar dynamical mass measurement of the black hole in each of the galaxies to better understand the poorly characterized high end of the relationships.


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