Very broad [O III] λλ4959, 5007 emission from the NGC 4472 globular cluster RZ 2109 and implications for the mass of its black hole x-ray source

Stephen E. Zepf, Daniel Stern, Thomas J. Maccarone, Arunav Kundu, Marc Kamionkowski, Katherine L. Rhode, John J. Salzer, Robin Ciardullo, Caryl Gronwall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

46 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present Keck LRIS spectroscopy of the black hole-hosting globular cluster RZ 2109 in the Virgo elliptical galaxy NGC 4472. We find that this object has extraordinarily broad [O III] λ5007 and [O III] λ4959 emission lines, with velocity widths of approximately 2000 km s-1. This result has significant implications for the nature of this accreting black hole system and the mass of the globular cluster black hole. We show that the broad [O III] λ5007 emission must arise from material driven at high velocity from the black hole system. This is because the volume available near the black hole is too small by many orders of magnitude to have enough [O III]-emitting atoms to account for the observed L([O III] λ5007) at high velocities, even if this volume is filled with oxygen at the critical density for [O III] λ5007. The Balmer emission is also weak, indicating the observed [O III] is not due to shocks. We therefore conclude that the [O III] λλ4959, 5007 is produced by photoionization of material driven across the cluster. The only known way to drive significant material at high velocity is for a system accreting mass near or above its Eddington limit, which indicates a stellar-mass black hole. Since it is dynamically implausible to form an accreting stellar-mass black hole system in a globular cluster with an intermediate-mass black hole (DVIBH), it appears this massive globular cluster does not have an DVIBH. We discuss further tests of this conclusion, and its implications for the MBH-Mstellar and M BH-σ relations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L139-L142
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume683
Issue number2 PART 2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Very broad [O III] λλ4959, 5007 emission from the NGC 4472 globular cluster RZ 2109 and implications for the mass of its black hole x-ray source'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this