Volume 496, Number 2, March III 2009
|Page(s)||L9 - L12|
|Published online||18 February 2009|
Letter to the Editor
Broad H I absorption in the candidate binary black hole 4C37.11 (B2 0402+379)
Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, Postbus 2, 7990 AA Dwingeloo, The Netherlands e-mail: email@example.com
2 Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen, Postbus 800, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands
3 CSIRO Australia Telescope National Facility, PO Box 76, Epping NSW 1710, Australia
Accepted: 3 February 2009
We report the discovery of extremely broad 21-cm H I absorption (FWZI ~ 1600 km s-1) detected with the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope in the radio source 4C37.11 (B2 0402+379). This object has been claimed to host a supermassive binary black hole (Rodriguez et al. 2006). The main features in the absorption profile are two components, separated by ~1100 km s-1. The H I absorption in 4C37.11 is unusual because it is the first case where broad absorption is found to be centred on the systemic velocity of the host galaxy and not asymmetric and blueshifted as seen in all other galaxies with broad H I absorption. Given the large width of the absorption, we suggest that a possible explanation for the extreme properties of the H I absorption is that it is the kinematical signature of a binary black hole. If this interpretation is correct, the combined black-hole mass derived from the absorption profile is consistent with that derived from the luminosity of the spheroid. If the broad absorption is indeed due to a binary black hole, this finding confirms the importance of the gaseous component in the merging process of supermassive black holes.
Key words: galaxies: active / galaxies: individual: 4C37.11 (B2 0402+379) / galaxies: ISM
© ESO, 2009
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