The megamaser cosmology project. III. Accurate masses of seven supermassive black holes in active galaxies with circumnuclear megamaser disks

C. Y. Kuo, J. A. Braatz, J. J. Condon, C. M.V. Impellizzeri, K. Y. Lo, I. Zaw, M. Schenker, C. Henkel, M. J. Reid, J. E. Greene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

53 Scopus citations

Abstract

Observations of H2O masers from circumnuclear disks in active galaxies for the Megamaser Cosmology Project (MCP) allow accurate measurement of the mass of supermassive black holes (BH) in these galaxies. We present the Very Long Baseline Interferometry images and kinematics of water maser emission in six active galaxies: NGC 1194, NGC 2273, NGC 2960 (Mrk 1419), NGC 4388, NGC 6264 and NGC 6323. We use the Keplerian rotation curves of these six megamaser galaxies, plus a seventh previously published, to determine accurate enclosed masses within the central ∼0.3 pc of these galaxies, smaller than the radius of the sphere of influence of the central mass in all cases. We also set lower limits pc-3. For six of the seven disks, the high cetnotrthaledceennstirtailesmrauslse doeuntsciltuiessteorsf boeftswtaeresno0r. s1t2ell×ar1r0e1m0naanndts6a1s×th1e0c1e0nMtral objects, and this result further supports our assumption that the enclosed mass can be attributed predominantly to a supermassive BH. The seven BHs have masses ranging between 0.75 × 107 and 6.5×107M, with the mass errors dominated by the uncertainty of the Hubble constant.We compare the megamaser BH mass determination with BH mass measured from the virial estimation method. The virial estimation BH mass in four galaxies is consistent with the megamaser BH mass, but the virial mass uncertainty is much greater. Circumnuclear megamaser disks allow the best mass determination of the central BH mass in external galaxies and significantly improve the observational basis at the low-mass end of the M-σ relation. The M-σ relation may not be a single, low-scatter power law as originally proposed. MCP observations continue and we expect to obtain more maser BH masses in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume727
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 20 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Keywords

  • Accretion, accretion disks
  • Galaxies: ISM
  • Galaxies: Seyfert
  • Galaxies: active
  • Galaxies: nuclei

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