Revisiting the Black Hole Masses of Soft X-Ray-Selected Active Galactic Nuclei

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Title: Revisiting the Black Hole Masses of Soft X-Ray-Selected Active Galactic Nuclei
Creators: Watson, Linda C.; Mathur, Smita; Grupe, Dirk
Keywords: galaxies: active
galaxies: nuclei
quasars: general
Issue Date: 2007-06
Publisher: American Astronomical Society
Citation: Linda C. Watson, Smita Mathur, and Dirk Grupe, "Revisiting the Black Hole Masses of Soft X-Ray-Selected Active Galactic Nuclei," The Astronomical Journal 133, no. 6 (2007), doi:10.1086/515439
DOI: 10.1086/515439
Abstract: In our previous work, using luminosity and the Hβ FWHM as surrogates for black hole mass (M_BH), we compared the black hole masses of narrow-line Seyfert 1 galaxies (NLS1s) and broad-line Seyfert 1 galaxies (BLS1s) in a sample of soft X-ray-selected active galactic nuclei. We found that the distributions of black hole masses in the two populations are statistically different. Recent work shows that the second moment of the Hβ emission line (the line dispersion) is a better estimator of black hole mass than FWHM. To test whether changing the width measure affects our results, we calculate line dispersion-based black hole masses for our soft X-ray-selected sample. We find that using the line dispersion rather than the FWHM as a measure of the gas velocity shifts NLS1 and BLS1 virial product distributions closer together, but they remain distinct. On the M_BH-σ* plane, we find that using the line dispersion leaves NLS1s below the M_BH-σ* relation, but to a less significant degree than when FWHM is used to calculate black hole masses (the [O III] λ5007 FWHM is used as a surrogate for the bulge stellar velocity dispersion). The level of significance of our findings is such that we cannot draw firm conclusions on the location of the two samples on the M_BH-σ* plane. We are still left with two alternative scenarios: either (1) NLS1s lie below the M_BH-σ* relation, indicating that their black hole masses are growing, or (2) NLS1s lie on the M_BH-σ* relation, so they preferentially reside in smaller mass, less luminous galaxies; the present data do not allow us to choose one over the other. More trustworthy stellar velocity dispersions and accurate black hole mass measurements with reverberation mapping are required for a firmer statement about the locus of NLS1s on the M_BH-σ* plane.
ISSN: 1538-3881
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