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Title: THE FIRST SPECTROSCOPICALLY RESOLVED SUB-PARSEC ORBIT OF A SUPERMASSIVE BINARY BLACK HOLE

Abstract

One of the most intriguing scenarios proposed to explain how active galactic nuclei are triggered involves the existence of a supermassive binary black hole (BH) system in their cores. Here, we present an observational evidence for the first spectroscopically resolved sub-parsec orbit of a such system in the core of Seyfert galaxy NGC 4151. Using a method similar to those typically used for spectroscopic binary stars, we obtained radial velocity curves of the supermassive binary system, from which we calculated orbital elements and made estimates about the masses of the components. Our analysis shows that periodic variations in the light and radial velocity curves can be accounted for by an eccentric, sub-parsec Keplerian orbit with a 15.9 year period. The flux maximum in the light curve corresponds to the approaching phase of the secondary component toward the observer. According to the obtained results, we speculate that the periodic variations in the observed H{alpha} line shape and flux are due to shock waves generated by the supersonic motion of the components through the surrounding medium. Given the large observational effort needed to reveal this spectroscopically resolved binary orbital motion, we suggest that many such systems may exist in similar objects evenmore » if they are hard to find. Detecting more of them will provide us with insight into the BH mass growth process.« less

Authors:
; ; ;  [1];  [2];  [3]; ;  [4];  [5]
  1. Astronomical Observatory, Volgina 7, 11060 Belgrade (Serbia)
  2. INAF, Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, Padova (Italy)
  3. Special Astrophysical Observatory of the Russian AS, Nizhnij Arkhyz, Karachaevo-Cherkesia 369167 (Russian Federation)
  4. Isaac Newton Institute of Chile, Yugoslavia Branch, Belgrade (Serbia)
  5. Instituto de Astrofisica de Andalucia, CSIC, Apdo. 3004, E-18080 Granada (Spain)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22086399
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Astrophysical Journal
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 759; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); Journal ID: ISSN 0004-637X
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ASTRONOMY; ASTROPHYSICS; BINARY STARS; BLACK HOLES; DIAGRAMS; EMISSION SPECTROSCOPY; GALAXY NUCLEI; MASS; ORBITS; PERIODICITY; QUASARS; RADIAL VELOCITY; SEYFERT GALAXIES; SHOCK WAVES; VISIBLE RADIATION

Citation Formats

Bon, E., Jovanovic, P., Bon, N., Popovic, L. C., Marziani, P., Shapovalova, A. I., Borka Jovanovic, V., Borka, D., and Sulentic, J. THE FIRST SPECTROSCOPICALLY RESOLVED SUB-PARSEC ORBIT OF A SUPERMASSIVE BINARY BLACK HOLE. United States: N. p., 2012. Web. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/759/2/118.
Bon, E., Jovanovic, P., Bon, N., Popovic, L. C., Marziani, P., Shapovalova, A. I., Borka Jovanovic, V., Borka, D., & Sulentic, J. THE FIRST SPECTROSCOPICALLY RESOLVED SUB-PARSEC ORBIT OF A SUPERMASSIVE BINARY BLACK HOLE. United States. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/759/2/118.
Bon, E., Jovanovic, P., Bon, N., Popovic, L. C., Marziani, P., Shapovalova, A. I., Borka Jovanovic, V., Borka, D., and Sulentic, J. Sat . "THE FIRST SPECTROSCOPICALLY RESOLVED SUB-PARSEC ORBIT OF A SUPERMASSIVE BINARY BLACK HOLE". United States. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/759/2/118.
@article{osti_22086399,
title = {THE FIRST SPECTROSCOPICALLY RESOLVED SUB-PARSEC ORBIT OF A SUPERMASSIVE BINARY BLACK HOLE},
author = {Bon, E. and Jovanovic, P. and Bon, N. and Popovic, L. C. and Marziani, P. and Shapovalova, A. I. and Borka Jovanovic, V. and Borka, D. and Sulentic, J.},
abstractNote = {One of the most intriguing scenarios proposed to explain how active galactic nuclei are triggered involves the existence of a supermassive binary black hole (BH) system in their cores. Here, we present an observational evidence for the first spectroscopically resolved sub-parsec orbit of a such system in the core of Seyfert galaxy NGC 4151. Using a method similar to those typically used for spectroscopic binary stars, we obtained radial velocity curves of the supermassive binary system, from which we calculated orbital elements and made estimates about the masses of the components. Our analysis shows that periodic variations in the light and radial velocity curves can be accounted for by an eccentric, sub-parsec Keplerian orbit with a 15.9 year period. The flux maximum in the light curve corresponds to the approaching phase of the secondary component toward the observer. According to the obtained results, we speculate that the periodic variations in the observed H{alpha} line shape and flux are due to shock waves generated by the supersonic motion of the components through the surrounding medium. Given the large observational effort needed to reveal this spectroscopically resolved binary orbital motion, we suggest that many such systems may exist in similar objects even if they are hard to find. Detecting more of them will provide us with insight into the BH mass growth process.},
doi = {10.1088/0004-637X/759/2/118},
journal = {Astrophysical Journal},
issn = {0004-637X},
number = 2,
volume = 759,
place = {United States},
year = {2012},
month = {11}
}