The Black Hole Mass In M87 From Gemini/NIFS Adaptive Optics Observations

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Date

2011-03

Authors

Gebhardt, Karl
Adams, Joshua
Richstone, Douglas
Lauer, Tod R.
Faber, S. M.
Gultekin, Kayhan
Murphy, Jeremy
Tremaine, Scott

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Abstract

We present the stellar kinematics in the central 2 '' of the luminous elliptical galaxy M87 (NGC 4486), using laser adaptive optics to feed the Gemini telescope integral-field spectrograph, Near-infrared Integral Field Spectrograph (NIFS). The velocity dispersion rises to 480 km s(-1) at 0 ''.2. We combine these data with extensive stellar kinematics out to large radii to derive a black hole mass equal to (6.6 +/- 0.4) x 10(9) M-circle dot, using orbit-based axisymmetric models and including only the NIFS data in the central region. Including previously reported ground-based data in the central region drops the uncertainty to 0.25 x 10(9) M-circle dot with no change in the best-fit mass; however, we rely on the values derived from the NIFS-only data in the central region in order to limit systematic differences. The best-fit model shows a significant increase in the tangential velocity anisotropy of stars orbiting in the central region with decreasing radius, similar to that seen at the centers of other core galaxies. The black hole mass is insensitive to the inclusion of a dark halo in the models-the high angular resolution provided by the adaptive optics breaks the degeneracy between black hole mass and stellar mass-to-light ratio. The present black hole mass is in excellent agreement with the Gebhardt & Thomas value, implying that the dark halo must be included when the kinematic influence of the black hole is poorly resolved. This degeneracy implies that the black hole masses of luminous core galaxies, where this effect is important, may need to be re-evaluated. The present value exceeds the prediction of the black hole-dispersion and black hole-luminosity relations, both of which predict about 1 x 10(9) M-circle dot for M87, by close to twice the intrinsic scatter in the relations. The high end of the black hole correlations may be poorly determined at present.

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Gebhardt, Karl, Joshua Adams, Douglas Richstone, Tod R. Lauer, S. M. Faber, Kayhan G�ltekin, Jeremy Murphy, and Scott Tremaine. "The black hole mass in M87 from Gemini/NIFS adaptive optics observations." The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 729, No. 2 (Mar., 2011): 119.