NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2015A-0199

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Program Information for 2015A-0199


PI: Merida Batiste, Georgia State U., batiste@astro.gsu.edu
Address: Department of Physics and Astronomy, 25 Park Place Office 614, Atlanta, GA 30302 USA

CoI: Misty C Bentz, Georgia State U.
CoI: Matthew A Bershady, U. of Wisconsin, Madison

Title: Deconstructing Dynamics: Improving AGN Measurements for Calibration of the M_BH - Relation

Abstract: Almost all galaxies host a central supermassive black hole, and scaling relations between black hole mass ($M_{BH}$) and various host- galaxy properties are essential tools for investigating the evolution of structure across cosmic time. Evolutionary studies are limited to active galaxies, and the $M_{BH}-\sigma_{\star}$ relation, between $M_{BH}$ and bulge stellar velocity dispersion ($\sigma_{\star}$), is one of the most frequently used for such studies. However, its utility is currently limited by the accuracy of the calibration. Most active galaxies with $M_{BH}$ determinations are late-type spirals that contain significant kinematic substructure, which is known to contaminate and bias $\sigma_{\star}$ determinations from long-slit spectroscopy. Thus, the quality of currently available $\sigma_{\star}$ measurements is perhaps the most significant hindrance to accurate calibration. We propose to obtain HexPak spatially resolved spectroscopy for the central region of eight nearby active galaxies in order to accurately assess $\sigma_{\star}$, free from contamination by dynamically distinct substructure. These observations will allow for the effects of substructure to be quantified, providing an estimate of the average correction that should be applied to measured $\sigma_{\star}$ values, when spatially resolved spectroscopy is not available. The target sample constitutes almost one third of the calibration sample for the $M_{BH}-\sigma_{\star}$ relation for active galaxies, and as such this study promises to dramatically improve calibration of the $M_{BH}- \sigma_{\star}$ relation, thereby improving its utility as a probe of structure formation and evolution.

Program Type: Standard/Extragalactic

Scheduled Nights:
Run 1 (2015A):  WIYN/HEXPK -- 4n on Apr 20 - Apr 23 2015


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 >   2015A-0199

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