Publications by Michele Cappellari


Improved dynamical constraints on the mass of the central black hole in NGC 404

Astrophysical Journal Institute of Physics 836 (2017) 237-

DD Nguyen, AC Seth, M den Brok, N Neumayer, M Cappellari, AJ Barth, N Caldwell, BF Williams, B Binder

We explore the nucleus of the nearby 109 M⊙ early-type galaxy, NGC 404, using Hubble Space Telescope (HST)/STIS spectroscopy and WFC3 imaging. We first present evidence for nuclear variability in UV, optical, and infrared filters over a time period of 15 years. This variability adds to the already substantial evidence for an accreting black hole at the center of NGC 404. We then redetermine the dynamical black hole mass in NGC 404 including modeling of the nuclear stellar populations. We combine HST/STIS spectroscopy with WFC3 images to create a local color-M/L relation derived from stellar population modeling of the STIS data. We then use this to create a mass model for the nuclear region. We use Jeans modeling to fit this mass model to adaptive optics stellar kinematic observations from Gemini/NIFS. From our stellar dynamical modeling, we find a 3σ upper limit on the black hole mass of 1.5 × 105 M⊙. Given the accretion evidence for a black hole, this upper limit makes NGC 404 the lowest mass central black hole with dynamical mass constraints. We find that the kinematics of H2 emission line gas show evidence for non-gravitational motions preventing the use of gas dynamical modeling to constrain the black hole mass. Our stellar population modeling also reveals that the central, counter-rotating region of the nuclear cluster is dominated by ∼1 Gyr old populations.


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