Measuring the Masses of Supermassive Black Holes
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Supermassive black holes reside at the centers of most, if not all, massive galaxies: the difference between active and quiescent galaxies is due to differences in mass accretion rate and radiative efficiency rather than whether or not they have nuclear black holes. In this contribution, methods for measuring the masses of supermassive black holes are discussed, with emphasis on reverberation mapping which is most generally applicable to accreting supermassive black holes and, in particular, to distant quasars where time resolution can be used as a surrogate for angular resolution. Indirect methods based on scaling relationships from reverberation mapping studies are also discussed, along with their current limitations.
KeywordsActive galactic nuclei Black hole Reverberation mapping
The author is grateful for support by the US National Science Foundation through grant AST-1008882 to The Ohio State University and for the kind hospitality of the International Space Science Institute in Bern, where this work was first presented. The author thanks Misty Bentz for providing Figs. 4 and 8, Kate Grier for Figs. 1, 5 and 6, and Jong-Hak Woo for Fig. 7. The author also thanks Misty Bentz, Kelly Denney, Stephan Frank, Kate Grier, Peter Jonker, Smita Mathur, Ian McHardy, Yue Shen, Marianne Vestergaard, and an anonymous referee for advice, criticism, and comments on the manuscript.
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