NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2003B-0259

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Proposal Information for 2003B-0259


PI: Karl Gebhardt, University of Texas, gebhardt@astro.as.utexas.edu
Address: Astronomy Department, 1 University Station C1400, Austin, TX 78712-0259, USA

CoI: Tod R. Lauer, NOAO
CoI: Roeland van der Marel, Space Telescope Science Institute

Title: Black Holes in Brightest Cluster Galaxies

Abstract: The largest galaxies, and especially brightest cluster galaxies (BCGs), offer special insight into galaxy formation and evolution because they represent the extremes of these processes. Black holes are now believed to be essential components of galaxies, and their evolutionary states appear to be intimately linked to those of their hosts. By studying black holes in BCGs, we will push theoretical predictions for formation of both black holes and their hosts. In addition, since BCGs are the largest galaxies that exist, they should contain the most massive black holes. We will measure central stellar kinematics in two nearby brightest cluster galaxies using the GMOS IFU- Abell 260 and Abell 193-complementing our previous observations of six BCGs. These observations are superior to any that are possible with the Hubble Space Telescope because the surface brightnesses are too low for HST. The measured black hole masses will extend the black-hole/sigma correlation to its extreme end, testing black hole formation models and finding the upper mass limit for a black hole. In addition, the two- dimensional kinematic coverage will be used with orbit-based models to measure the central orbital structure. This information \it directly probes the galaxies' evolutionary processes, allowing us to compare the evolutionary history of BCGs with normal galaxies. We will complement these observations with additional kinematic coverage at Hobby-Eberly Telescope, which will give additional insight by including the large radii dynamical properties. Abell 193 is chosen since it has a double nucleus separated by 1\arcsec, for which we will measure its current dynamical state.


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