DEEP CHANDRA OBSERVATIONS of the COMPACT STARBURST GALAXY HENIZE 2-10: X-RAYS from the MASSIVE BLACK HOLE

Amy E. Reines, Mark T. Reynolds, Jon M. Miller, Gregory R. Sivakoff, Jenny E. Greene, Ryan C. Hickox, Kelsey E. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present follow-up X-ray observations of the candidate massive black hole (BH) in the nucleus of the low-mass, compact starburst galaxy Henize 2-10. Using new high-resolution observations from the Chandra X-ray Observatory totaling 200 ks in duration, as well as archival Chandra observations from 2001, we demonstrate the presence of a previously unidentified X-ray point source that is spatially coincident with the known nuclear radio source in Henize 2-10 (i.e., the massive BH). We show that the hard X-ray emission previously identified in the 2001 observation is dominated by a source that is distinct from the nucleus, with the properties expected for a high-mass X-ray binary. The X-ray luminosity of the nuclear source suggests the massive BH is radiating significantly below its Eddington limit (∼10), and the soft spectrum resembles other weakly accreting massive BHs including Sagittarius A∗. Analysis of the X-ray light curve of the nucleus reveals the tentative detection of a ∼9 hr periodicity, although additional observations are required to confirm this result. Our study highlights the need for sensitive high-resolution X-ray observations to probe low-level accretion, which is the dominant mode of BH activity throughout the universe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL35
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Volume830
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 20 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Keywords

  • X-rays: general
  • accretion, accretion disks
  • galaxies: active
  • galaxies: dwarf
  • galaxies: nuclei

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