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Black holes, galaxy formation, and the M-BH-sigma relation

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journal contribution
posted on 23.10.2019, 16:07 by Andrew King
Recent X-ray observations of intense high-speed outflows in quasars suggest that supercritical accretion on to the central black hole may have an important effect on a host galaxy. I revisit some ideas of Silk & Rees and assume that such flows occur in the final stages of building up the black hole mass. It is now possible to model explicitly the interaction between the outflow and the host galaxy. This is found to resemble a momentum-driven stellar wind bubble, implying a relation MBH = (fgκ/2πG2)σ4 sime 1.5 × 108σimg1.gif M☉ between black hole mass and bulge velocity dispersion (fg = gas fraction of total matter density, κ = electron scattering opacity), without free parameters. This is remarkably close to the observed relation in both slope and normalization. This result suggests that the central black holes in galaxies gain most of their mass in phases of super-Eddington accretion, which are presumably obscured or at high redshift. Observed super-Eddington quasars are apparently late in growing their black hole masses.


I thank Andy Fabian, Jim Pringle and James Binney for illuminating discussions, and the referee for a very helpful report. This work was carried out at the Center for Astrophysics, and I thank members of its staff, particularly Pepi Fabbiano and Martin Elvis, for stimulating discussions and warm hospitality. I gratefully acknowledge a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award.



Astrophysical Journal, 2003, 596 (1), pp. L27-L29 (3)

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/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING/Department of Physics and Astronomy


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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Astrophysical Journal


American Astronomical Society, IOP Publishing



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