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Title: RESOLVING THE BONDI ACCRETION FLOW TOWARD THE SUPERMASSIVE BLACK HOLE OF NGC 3115 WITH CHANDRA

Abstract

Gas undergoing Bondi accretion onto a supermassive black hole (SMBH) becomes hotter toward smaller radii. We searched for this signature with a Chandra observation of the hot gas in NGC 3115, which optical observations show has a very massive SMBH. Our analysis suggests that we are resolving, for the first time, the accretion flow within the Bondi radius of an SMBH. We show that the temperature is rising toward the galaxy center as expected in all accretion models in which the black hole is gravitationally capturing the ambient gas. There is no hard central point source that could cause such an apparent rise in temperature. The data support that the Bondi radius is at about 4''-5'' (188-235 pc), suggesting an SMBH of 2 x 10{sup 9} M{sub sun} that is consistent with the upper end of the optical results. The density profile within the Bondi radius has a power-law index of 1.03{sup +0.23}{sub -0.21}, which is consistent with gas in transition from the ambient medium and the accretion flow. The accretion rate at the Bondi radius is determined to be M-dot{sub B} = 2.2x10{sup -2} M{sub sun} yr{sup -1}. Thus, the accretion luminosity with 10% radiative efficiency at the Bondimore » radius (10{sup 44} erg s{sup -1}) is about six orders of magnitude higher than the upper limit of the X-ray luminosity of the nucleus.« less

Authors:
; ; ;  [1];  [2];  [3]
  1. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Alabama, Box 870324, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487 (United States)
  2. UCO/Lick Observatory, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 (United States)
  3. Department of Astronomy, University of Michigan, 500 Church Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1042 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
21562520
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Astrophysical Journal Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 736; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: DOI: 10.1088/2041-8205/736/1/L23; Journal ID: ISSN 2041-8205
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ACCRETION DISKS; BLACK HOLES; GALAXY NUCLEI; X-RAY GALAXIES; COSMIC RAY SOURCES; COSMIC X-RAY SOURCES; GALAXIES

Citation Formats

Wong, Ka-Wah, Irwin, Jimmy A., Yukita, Mihoko, Million, Evan T., Mathews, William G., and Bregman, Joel N., E-mail: kwong@ua.edu. RESOLVING THE BONDI ACCRETION FLOW TOWARD THE SUPERMASSIVE BLACK HOLE OF NGC 3115 WITH CHANDRA. United States: N. p., 2011. Web. doi:10.1088/2041-8205/736/1/L23.
Wong, Ka-Wah, Irwin, Jimmy A., Yukita, Mihoko, Million, Evan T., Mathews, William G., & Bregman, Joel N., E-mail: kwong@ua.edu. RESOLVING THE BONDI ACCRETION FLOW TOWARD THE SUPERMASSIVE BLACK HOLE OF NGC 3115 WITH CHANDRA. United States. doi:10.1088/2041-8205/736/1/L23.
Wong, Ka-Wah, Irwin, Jimmy A., Yukita, Mihoko, Million, Evan T., Mathews, William G., and Bregman, Joel N., E-mail: kwong@ua.edu. Wed . "RESOLVING THE BONDI ACCRETION FLOW TOWARD THE SUPERMASSIVE BLACK HOLE OF NGC 3115 WITH CHANDRA". United States. doi:10.1088/2041-8205/736/1/L23.
@article{osti_21562520,
title = {RESOLVING THE BONDI ACCRETION FLOW TOWARD THE SUPERMASSIVE BLACK HOLE OF NGC 3115 WITH CHANDRA},
author = {Wong, Ka-Wah and Irwin, Jimmy A. and Yukita, Mihoko and Million, Evan T. and Mathews, William G. and Bregman, Joel N., E-mail: kwong@ua.edu},
abstractNote = {Gas undergoing Bondi accretion onto a supermassive black hole (SMBH) becomes hotter toward smaller radii. We searched for this signature with a Chandra observation of the hot gas in NGC 3115, which optical observations show has a very massive SMBH. Our analysis suggests that we are resolving, for the first time, the accretion flow within the Bondi radius of an SMBH. We show that the temperature is rising toward the galaxy center as expected in all accretion models in which the black hole is gravitationally capturing the ambient gas. There is no hard central point source that could cause such an apparent rise in temperature. The data support that the Bondi radius is at about 4''-5'' (188-235 pc), suggesting an SMBH of 2 x 10{sup 9} M{sub sun} that is consistent with the upper end of the optical results. The density profile within the Bondi radius has a power-law index of 1.03{sup +0.23}{sub -0.21}, which is consistent with gas in transition from the ambient medium and the accretion flow. The accretion rate at the Bondi radius is determined to be M-dot{sub B} = 2.2x10{sup -2} M{sub sun} yr{sup -1}. Thus, the accretion luminosity with 10% radiative efficiency at the Bondi radius (10{sup 44} erg s{sup -1}) is about six orders of magnitude higher than the upper limit of the X-ray luminosity of the nucleus.},
doi = {10.1088/2041-8205/736/1/L23},
journal = {Astrophysical Journal Letters},
issn = {2041-8205},
number = 1,
volume = 736,
place = {United States},
year = {2011},
month = {7}
}