The supermassive black hole mass-Sersic index relations for bulges and elliptical galaxies

G. Savorgnan*, A. W. Graham, A. Marconi, E. Sani, L. K. Hunt, M. Vika, S. P. Driver

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Scaling relations between supermassive black hole mass, M-BH, and host galaxy properties are a powerful instrument for studying their co-evolution. A complete picture involving all of the black hole scaling relations, in which each relation is consistent with the others, is necessary to fully understand the black hole-galaxy connection. The relation between M-BH and the central light concentration of the surrounding bulge, quantified by the Sersic index n, may be one of the simplest and strongest such relations, requiring only uncalibrated galaxy images. We have conducted a census of literature Sersic index measurements for a sample of 54 local galaxies with directly measured M-BH values. We find a clear M-BH-n relation, despite an appreciable level of scatter due to the heterogeneity of the data. Given the current M-BH-L-sph and the L-sph-n relations, we have additionally derived the expected M-BH-n relations, which are marginally consistent at the 2 Sigma level with the observed relations. Elliptical galaxies and the bulges of disc galaxies are each expected to follow two distinct bent M-BH-n relations due to the Sersic/core-Sersic divide. For the same central light concentration, we predict that M-BH in the Sersic bulges of disc galaxies are an order magnitude higher than in Sersic elliptical galaxies if they follow the same M-BH-L-sph relation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-397
Number of pages11
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume434
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013

Keywords

  • black hole physics
  • galaxies: bulges
  • galaxies: fundamental parameters
  • gal-axies: structure
  • DIGITAL SKY SURVEY
  • M-BH-L
  • LINEAR-REGRESSION
  • ASTRONOMICAL DATA
  • SCALING RELATIONS
  • NEARBY GALAXIES
  • SPIRAL GALAXIES
  • GALACTIC NUCLEI
  • VIRGO-CLUSTER
  • DECOMPOSITION

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