Which globular clusters contain intermediate-mass black holes?

Baumgardt, Holger, Makino, Junichiro and Hut, Piet (2005) Which globular clusters contain intermediate-mass black holes?. The Astrophysical Journal, 620 1: 238-243. doi:10.1086/426893

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Author Baumgardt, Holger
Makino, Junichiro
Hut, Piet
Title Which globular clusters contain intermediate-mass black holes?
Journal name The Astrophysical Journal   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0004-637X
1538-4357
Publication date 2005-02-10
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1086/426893
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 620
Issue 1
Start page 238
End page 243
Total pages 6
Place of publication Philadelphia, PA, United States
Publisher Institute of Physics Publishing
Language eng
Formatted abstract
It has been assumed that intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs) in globular clusters can only reside in the most centrally concentrated clusters, with a so-called core-collapsed density profile. While this would be a natural guess, it is in fact wrong. We have followed the evolution of star clusters containing IMBHs with masses between 125 ≤ MBH ≤ 1000 Msun through detailed N-body simulations, and we find that a cluster with an IMBH, in projection, appears to have a relatively large "core" with surface brightness only slightly rising toward the center. This makes it highly unlikely that any of the "core-collapsed" clusters will harbor an IMBH. On the contrary, the places to look for an IMBH are those clusters that can be fitted well by medium-concentration King models. The velocity dispersion of the visible stars in a globular cluster with an IMBH is nearly constant well inside the apparent core radius. For a cluster of mass MC containing an IMBH of mass MBH, the influence of the IMBH becomes significant only at a fraction 2.5MBH/MC of the half-mass radius, deep within the core, where it will affect only a small number of stars. In conclusion, observational detection of an IMBH may be possible, but will be challenging.
Keyword Black hole physics
Globular clusters : general
Methods : n-body simulations
Stellar dynamics
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Mathematics and Physics
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