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A dust-parallax distance of 19 megaparsecs to the supermassive black hole in NGC 4151

A dust-parallax distance of 19 megaparsecs to the supermassive black hole in NGC 4151
A dust-parallax distance of 19 megaparsecs to the supermassive black hole in NGC 4151
The active galaxy NGC 4151 has a crucial role as one of only two active galactic nuclei for which black hole mass measurements based on emission line reverberation mapping can be calibrated against other dynamical techniques1, 2, 3. Unfortunately, effective calibration requires accurate knowledge of the distance to NGC 4151, which is not at present available4. Recently reported distances range from 4 to 29 megaparsecs5, 6, 7. Strong peculiar motions make a redshift-based distance very uncertain, and the geometry of the galaxy and its nucleus prohibit accurate measurements using other techniques. Here we report a dust-parallax distance to NGC 4151 of megaparsecs. The measurement is based on an adaptation of a geometric method that uses the emission line regions of active galaxies8. Because these regions are too small to be imaged with present technology, we use instead the ratio of the physical and angular sizes of the more extended hot-dust emission9 as determined from time delays10 and infrared interferometry11, 12, 13, 14. This distance leads to an approximately 1.4-fold increase in the dynamical black hole mass, implying a corresponding correction to emission line reverberation masses of black holes if they are calibrated against the two objects with additional dynamical masses.
0028-0836
528-530
Hönig, Sebastian F.
be0bb8bc-bdac-4442-8edc-f735834f3917
Watson, Darach
bfe84a24-55cd-4469-a0d0-e1a93e9fc2b8
Kishimoto, Makoto
ffd0231d-af4a-467e-b693-82905e0ca7f3
Hjorth, Jens
a37423df-8e2f-4dc5-ae78-8e70ed3cffb6
Hönig, Sebastian F.
be0bb8bc-bdac-4442-8edc-f735834f3917
Watson, Darach
bfe84a24-55cd-4469-a0d0-e1a93e9fc2b8
Kishimoto, Makoto
ffd0231d-af4a-467e-b693-82905e0ca7f3
Hjorth, Jens
a37423df-8e2f-4dc5-ae78-8e70ed3cffb6

Hönig, Sebastian F., Watson, Darach, Kishimoto, Makoto and Hjorth, Jens (2014) A dust-parallax distance of 19 megaparsecs to the supermassive black hole in NGC 4151. Nature, 515 (7528), 528-530. (doi:10.1038/nature13914).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The active galaxy NGC 4151 has a crucial role as one of only two active galactic nuclei for which black hole mass measurements based on emission line reverberation mapping can be calibrated against other dynamical techniques1, 2, 3. Unfortunately, effective calibration requires accurate knowledge of the distance to NGC 4151, which is not at present available4. Recently reported distances range from 4 to 29 megaparsecs5, 6, 7. Strong peculiar motions make a redshift-based distance very uncertain, and the geometry of the galaxy and its nucleus prohibit accurate measurements using other techniques. Here we report a dust-parallax distance to NGC 4151 of megaparsecs. The measurement is based on an adaptation of a geometric method that uses the emission line regions of active galaxies8. Because these regions are too small to be imaged with present technology, we use instead the ratio of the physical and angular sizes of the more extended hot-dust emission9 as determined from time delays10 and infrared interferometry11, 12, 13, 14. This distance leads to an approximately 1.4-fold increase in the dynamical black hole mass, implying a corresponding correction to emission line reverberation masses of black holes if they are calibrated against the two objects with additional dynamical masses.

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Accepted/In Press date: 3 October 2014
e-pub ahead of print date: 26 November 2014
Published date: November 2014
Organisations: Astronomy Group

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 402388
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/402388
ISSN: 0028-0836
PURE UUID: a51aac80-bd23-4c4a-bd0e-7c6b263dbb81

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Date deposited: 08 Nov 2016 11:28
Last modified: 25 Nov 2021 23:28

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Contributors

Author: Darach Watson
Author: Makoto Kishimoto
Author: Jens Hjorth

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