AAS 199th meeting, Washington, DC, January 2002
Session 25. Black Holes, Dark Matter and X-ray Sources in Extragalactic Systems
Oral, Monday, January 7, 2002, 10:00-11:30am, International Ballroom East

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[25.03] The Connection between Nuclear Structure, Central Black Holes and Radio Properties of Brightest Cluster Galaxies

S. Laine, R. P. van der Marel, C. P. O'Dea, M. Postman (STScI), T. R. Lauer (NOAO), F. N. Owen (NRAO-Socorro)

We present preliminary results from an ongoing survey of nearby brightest cluster galaxies (BCGs), selected from the sample of Lauer & Postman (1994). We have obtained I-band images with HST to measure central cusp slopes, and to determine the prevalence of dust, and to learn more about multiple nuclei systems. The measured cusp slopes in the centers show a variety of forms, from very steeply rising (cuspy) to flat cores. The profiles were fitted with generalized NUKER-law parameterization and an estimate for the central supermassive black hole mass was then obtained from adiabatic black hole growth model fits. We are also obtaining VLA radio continuum images to determine the 20-cm radio luminosity of each galaxy. Our results will be used to probe: (a) the black hole mass vs. radio luminosity correlation and its implications on black hole formation and growth, and AGN-activity; (b) the survival or disruption of merging companion galaxies; and (c) the correlation between dust structure and radio power. BCGs form an ideal sample to address these issues because both their optical luminosities and morphological types fall in a very narrow range, and they are expected to contain some of the most massive black holes in the Universe. Support for proposal #8683 was provided by NASA through a grant from STScI which is operated by AURA, Inc., under NASA contract NAS5-26555.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: laine@stsci.edu

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