NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2014A-0098

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Proposal Information for 2014A-0098


PI: Jessie Runnoe, The Pennsylvania State University, runnoejc@psu.edu
Address: Astronomy Department, 525 Davey Lab, University Park, PA 16802, USA

CoI: Michael Eracleous, The Pennsylvania State University
CoI: Todd Boroson, Las Cumbres Observatory
CoI: Steinn Sigurdsson, The Pennsylvania State University
CoI: Tamara Bogdanovic, Georgia Institute of Techonology

Title: A Systematic Search for Close Binary Supermassive Black Holes

Abstract: Supermassive black hole binaries (SBHBs) are predicted by modern galaxy evolution scenarios to result from galaxy mergers. We have undertaken a systematic search for SBHBs with a sample of 88 candidatess selected via substantial (>1000\;km s^-1) shifts of their broad H(beta) lines from the systemic redshift. After two epochs of spectroscopy we find that 20% of the sources display statistically significant accelerations. We are requesting new spectra and high- resolution imaging to further constrain the nature of the candidate SBHBs in multiple ways. These data will allow us to: (a) distinguish between true orbital behavior and non-periodic velocity shifts with through spectroscopy, (b) locate tidal features in the outskirts of the host galaxies and examine the morphology of their cores to determine whether these galaxies are products of mergers, and (c) locate the bulge of the host galaxy and check whether it coincides with the compact radio source determined from VLA radio images already obtained. This last investigation is a test of the rapidly recoiling black hole hypothesis (an alternative explanation for the spectra of the candidates).


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NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2014A-0098

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