Chandra limits on X-ray emission associated with the supermassive black holes in three giant elliptical galaxies

Michael Loewenstein, Richard F. Mushotzky, Lorella Angelini, Keith A. Arnaud, Eliot Quataert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

119 Scopus citations

Abstract

Elliptical galaxy nuclei are the sites of the largest black holes known but typically show little or no nuclear activity. We investigate this extreme quiescence using Chandra X-Ray Observatory observations of the giant elliptical galaxies NGC 1399, NGC 4472, and NGC 4636. The unique Chandra imaging power enables us to place upper limits of 7.3, 15, and 28 × 10-9LEdd for the ∼108-109 M black holes in NGC 1399, NGC 4472, and NGC 4636, respectively. The corresponding radiative efficiencies in this band are 4.1, 24, and 620 × 10-6 using Bondi accretion rates derived from the Chandra hot interstellar gas surface brightness profiles. These limits are inconsistent with basic advection-dominated accretion flow models for NGC 1399 and NGC 4472, indicating accretion onto the black hole at ≲10% of the Bondi rate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L21-L24
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume555
Issue number1 PART 2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2001
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Keywords

  • Accretion, accretion disks
  • Black hole physics
  • Galaxies: Elliptical and lenticular, cD
  • Galaxies: Nuclei
  • X-rays: Galaxies

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