AAS 200th meeting, Albuquerque, NM, June 2002
Session 27. Properties and Evolution of Galaxies
Oral, Monday, June 3, 2002, 2:00-3:30pm, Ruidoso/Pecos

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[27.01D] The Double Nucleus of M31: Modeling to Obtain an Accurate Black Hole Mass

R. M. Salow (Ohio University)

The twin brightness peaks in the nucleus of M31, along with asymmetries in nuclear kinematic profiles obtained from both ground- and space-based data, suggest the presence of an underlying eccentric disk of stars orbiting a supermassive black hole. I have developed a method for constructing approximate self-consistent models of weakly self-gravitating, finite dispersion eccentric stellar disks around central black holes. The disks are fixed in a frame rotating at a constant precession speed, and are built by an iteration scheme in which a disk is populated by quasi-periodic orbits using a distribution function written in terms of the Kepler integrals of motion. I will present results from a grid of models computed to constrain the mass of the central black hole in M31. In particular, a statistically valid black hole mass will be given, and the properties of the disk that best-fits recent nuclear observations will be discussed. The central mass to be reported represents the most well-constrained value to date, since it is obtained using only the most recent high-resolution kinematic and photometric profiles. I have also developed an n-body code which is well suited for stability studies of disk systems with high-eccentricity orbits. Preliminary results on the stability of a particle realization of the best-fit model will be presented.

This research was supported by NSF CAREER grant AST 97-03036

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