Volume 521, October 2010
|Number of page(s)||8|
|Published online||20 October 2010|
The mass function of nearby black hole candidates
Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany
2 Institute for Space Sciences, PO Box MG-23, Ro 077125 Bucharest-Magurele, Romania e-mail: email@example.com
3 Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Bonn, Endenicher Allee 11-13, Bonn, Germany
4 Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35487, USA
5 Department of Physics, University of Alabama at Huntsville, 301 Sparkman Drive Huntsville, AL 35899, USA
6 Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, PO Box 3640, 76021 Karlsruhe, Germany
Accepted: 13 July 2010
Context. The mass function of supermassive black holes in our cosmic neighborhood is required to understand the statistics of their activity and consequently the origin of ultra high energy particles.
Aims. We determine a mass function of supermassive black hole candidates from the entire sky except for the Galactic plane.
Methods. Using the 2MASS catalogue as a starting point, and the well-established correlation between black hole mass and the bulge of old population of stars, we derive a list of nearby black hole candidates within the redshift range z < 0.025, then perform an additional selection based on the Hubble type. We present our resulting catalogue elsewhere. The final list of black hole candidates above a mass of MBH > 3 × 106 has 5829 entries. We perform a Hubble-type correction to account for selection effects, which reduces this number to 2919 black hole candidates. Here we use this catalogue to derive the black-hole mass function. We also correct for volume, so that this mass function is a volume-limited distribution to redshift 0.025.
Results. The differential mass function of nearby black hole candidates is a curved function, with a straight simple power-law of index -3 above 108 that becomes progressively flatter towards lower masses, turns off towards a gap below 3 × 106 , and then extends into the range where nuclear star clusters replace black holes. The shape of this mass function can be explained in a simple merger picture. Integrating this mass function over the redshift range for which it has been derived, infers a total number of black holes with z < 0.025, and MBH > 107 of about 2.4 × 104, or, if we average uniformly, 0.6 for every square degree on the sky.
Key words: black hole physics / galaxies: general / acceleration of particles
© ESO, 2010
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