National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

ALMA Precisely Measures Black Hole Mass

| Science

A research group led by Kyoko Onishi at the SOKENDAI (The Graduate University for Advanced Studies) observed the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1097 with ALMA and found that the central supermassive black hole (SMBH) has a mass 140 million times the mass of the Sun. Since galaxies are believed to have co-evolved with SMBHs, SMBH mass is an important parameter in understanding their relation in the context of galaxy evolution. This research result is based on the ALMA observation data obtained within a two-hour observation, which demonstrates the outstanding capacity of ALMA in the SMBH mass measurement.

Central region of NGC 1097 observed with ALMA
Figure. Central region of NGC 1097 observed with ALMA. The velocity of the HCN gas is shown in the color and overlaid on the optical image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Red indicates gas is moving away from us while purple is coming closer to us. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), K. Onishi (SOKENDAI), NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope Original size (3.5MB)

This scientific paper on which this article is based apperas in the Astrophysical Journal published on June, 2015 as Onishi et al. “A Measurement of the Black-Hole Mass in NGC 1097 using ALMA.”