Black Hole Mass Determination Using X-Ray Data




Jang, Insuk

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Supermassive black holes are located at the center of basically every galaxy and their mass appears to be tightly correlated with several galaxy properties, suggesting that black hole and galaxy growths are linked together. Determining the mass of black holes provides crucial information on the galaxy evolution and indeed significant progress has been achieved thanks to optically-based methods. However, since these methods are limited by several factors including absorption and galaxy contamination, it is important to develop and test alternative methods that use different energy bands to constrain the black hole mass. In a recent work we demonstrated that a novel X-ray scaling method, originally introduced for stellar mass black holes, can be reliably extended to estimate the mass of highly-accreting supermassive black holes. Here we investigate the limits of applicability of this method to low-accreting black holes, using a control sample of low-luminosity active galactic nuclei with good-quality X-ray data and with dynamically measured black hole masses. We find the threshold value of the accretion rate for which the X-ray scaling method can still be used. Below this threshold, we provide a simple recipe to constrain the black hole mass based on the inverse correlation between X-ray spectral properties and accretion rate, which was found in several low-accreting black holes and confirmed by our sample.



Astrophysics, Physics, Active galaxies, Black hole Physics, Ultraluminous X-ray sources, X-rays