The ecology of the galactic centre: Nuclear stellar clusters and supermassive black holes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Supermassive black holes are found in most galactic nuclei. A large fraction of these nuclei also contain a nuclear stellar cluster surrounding the black hole. Here we consider the idea that the nuclear stellar cluster formed first and that the supermassive black hole grew later. In particular we consider the merger of three stellar clusters to form a nuclear stellar cluster, where some of these clusters contain a single intermediate-mass black hole (IMBH). In the cases where multiple clusters contain IMBHs, we discuss whether the black holes are likely to merge and whether such mergers are likely to result in the ejection of the merged black hole from the nuclear stellar cluster. In some cases, no supermassive black hole will form as any merger product is not retained. This is a natural pathway to explain those galactic nuclei that contain a nuclear stellar cluster but apparently lack a supermassive black hole; M33 being a nearby example. Alternatively, if an IMBH merger product is retained within the nuclear stellar cluster, it may subsequently grow, e.g. via the tidal disruption of stars, to form a supermassive black hole.

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Authors
Organisations
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology

Keywords

  • black holes, galactic nuclei, Stellar clusters
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-83
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
Volume14
Issue number351
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes