AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 68. Structure of Galaxies with Central Masses
Oral, Tuesday, January 7, 2003, 2:00-3:30pm, 602-604

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[68.03D] Modeling the Eccentric Nuclear Disk in M31 to Obtain the Mass of the Central Black Hole

R. M. Salow (Ohio Univ.)

The off-center brightness peak in the nucleus of M31, along with asymmetries in the nuclear kinematic and photometric profiles, suggests 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 the 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 black hole in M31. In particular, a statistically valid black hole mass will be given, and the properties of the disk that best-fits the most recent high-resolution nuclear observations will be discussed. 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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