Demographics and evolution of super massive black holes in quasars and galaxies

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Salviander, Sarah Triplett, 1971-

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This dissertation addresses the co-evolutionary relationship between central super-massive black holes and host galaxies. This relationship is suggested by observed correlations between black hole mass (M[subscript BH]) and properties of the host galaxy bulge. We first discuss investigation of the relationship between MBH and host galaxy velocity dispersion, [sigma subscript asterisk], for quasars in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). We derive MBH from the broad emission line width and continuum luminosity, and [sigma subscript asterisk] from the width of narrow forbidden emission lines. For redshifts z < 0.5, our results agree with the locally-observed M[subscript BH]- [sigma subscript asterisk] relationship. For 0.5 < z < 1.2, the M[subscript BH]- [sigma subscript asterisk] relationship appears to evolve with redshift in the sense that bulges are too small for their black holes. Part of this apparent trend can be attributed to observational biases, including a Malmquist bias involving the quasar luminosity. Accounting for these biases, we find approximately a factor of two evolution in the M[subscript BH]- [sigma subscript asterisk] relationship between the present and redshift z [approximately equal] 1. The second topic involves a search for the largest velocity dispersion galaxies in the SDSS. Black holes in quasars can have M[subscript BH]exceeding 5 billion M[mass compared to the sun], implying [sigma subscript asterisk] > 500 km s−1 by the local M[subscript BH]- [sigma subscript asterisk] relationship. We present high signal-to-noise HET observations for eight galaxies at redshift z < 0.3 from the SDSS showing large [sigma subscript asterisk] while appearing to be single galaxies in HST images. The maximum velocity dispersion we find is [sigma subscript asterisk] = 444 km s−1, suggesting either that quasar black hole masses are overestimated or that the black hole - bulge relationship changes at high black hole mass. The third topic involves work contributed to co-authored papers, including: (1) evidence for recoiling black holes in SDSS quasars, (2) the [sigma][O III] - [sigma subscript asterisk] relationship in active galactic nuclei (AGN), and (3) accretion disk temperatures and continuum colors in quasars. Lastly, we discuss research in progress, including: (1) possible physical influences on the width of narrow emission lines of SDSS AGN, including the gravitational effect of the black hole, and (2) a search for binary AGN in the SDSS using double-peaked [O III] emission lines.