AAS 200th meeting, Albuquerque, NM, June 2002
Session 84. High Energy Processes in Normal Galaxies: A Multi-wavelength Look
Special Session Oral, Thursday, June 6, 2002, 2:00-3:30pm, Ballroom C

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[84.04] Probing the Nuclei of Nearby Galaxies with Chandra

F. A. Primini (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA), Chandra HRC GTO Team, Chandra Face-On Spirals Team

There are on the order of 25 galaxies within ~20 Mpc of the Milky Way which harbor massive central dark objects that may be supermassive black holes (see, e.g., Kormendy&Gebhardt 2001, 20th Texas Symposium on Relativistic Astrophysics for a recent census). With the unprecedented spatial resolution of the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, we can for the first time probe the nuclei of these galaxies to search for x-ray activity from their central objects. In this talk, I will present an update on the work of the Chandra HRC GTO team on M31 and M32, both of which are believed to host supermassive black holes, and for comparison, will also examine the nuclei of some other near-by spirals which have little evidence for central dark objects.

In M31, there is an x-ray source within ~ 0.2{\prime}{\prime} of the optical and radio nucleus, but its luminosity is only ~ 5\times1037~ergs~s-1 (Kong et al astro-ph/0203243). In M32 a faint (~2\times 1036~ergs~s-1) x-ray source is present within ~ 2{\prime}{\prime} of the optical nucleus. Neither source appears in any way unusual, and in neither case is the identification of the x-ray source with the nucleus conclusive. These results are consistent with those of Loewenstein et al (2001, ApJ, 555, L21) on three near-by giant ellipticals, and indicate that the x-ray emission of the central objects (if any) is generated by an extremely inefficient process.

This work was supported under NASA Contract NAS8-38248 and NASA Grants GO 1-2092A and GO-08553, and is based in part on observations made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained from the data archive at the Space Telescope Science Institute.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34
© 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.