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The Interplay of Massive Black Holes and Their Host Galaxies
June 16, 201711:30 am – 12:30 pm (CDT)

The Interplay of Massive Black Holes and Their Host Galaxies


Sabine Thater (Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam)



Munnerlyn Astronomical Laboratory

College Station, Texas 77843

Event Details

Over the last two decades it has become apparent that massive dark objects are embedded in the cores of most galaxies irregardless of their morphological type. These galactic “monsters” comprise masses in the order of millions up to ten billions of solar masses into small spatial scales/fractions of parsecs. Due to their very high mass densities (up to several 109 M £ pc-3) these dark objects are consistent with being massive black holes (MBH). By now about hundred reliable mass measurements were performed for galaxies in the nearby universe based on the stellar or gaseous motion in the vicinity of the central black holes. Relating these MBH masses with host galaxy bulge properties, such as bulge mass, stellar velocity dispersion σe and Sérsic index, strikingly tight relations are revealed. The discovery of these relations is astonishing as two galaxy components of very different spatial scales are connected with each other: the MBH on 10-5 pc scales and the bulge potential on 103 pc scales, suggesting that the evolution of MBHs is closely linked to the evolution of their host galaxies. In this talk I will give an overview of the recent discussions on supermassive black hole – host galaxy coevolution underpinned by the presentation of our mass estimate of the central black hole in the isolated spiral galaxy NGC 4414 and our recent dynamical MBH measurements expanding on both the high and low mass end of the scaling relations. I will conclude my talk with a discussion on challenges in black hole mass measurements.

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