Black Holes in Low Mass Galaxies

Mon, May 11, 2015

Tac seminar image for website

Supermassive black holes are ubiquitous in massive galaxies, but it remains unclear how many sub-Milky Way mass galaxies host black holes.  The demographics of black holes in lower mass galaxies provide the only currently observable test of how supermassive black hole form in the early universe.  I will discuss my work to find and measure the mass of black holes in lower mass galaxies, highlighting the recent detection of a supermassive black hole that makes up 15% of the mass of an ultracompact dwarf galaxy (UCD).  This UCD is the least massive and smallest object known to host a supermassive (>10^6 Msol) black hole.  If other UCDs also host supermassive black holes they could represent a significant fraction of all the supermassive black holes in the local universe.