Supermassive black holes and their host galaxies. I. Bulge luminosities from dedicated near-infrared data

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Journal titleThe Astrophysical Journal
Article number69
AbstractIn an effort to secure, refine, and supplement the relation between central supermassive black hole masses, M •, and the bulge luminosities of their host galaxies, L bul, we obtained deep, high spatial resolution K-band images of 35 nearby galaxies with securely measured M •, using the wide-field WIRCam imager at the Canada-France-Hawaii-Telescope. A dedicated data reduction and sky subtraction strategy was adopted to estimate the brightness and structure of the sky, a critical step when tracing the light distribution of extended objects in the near-infrared. From the final image product, bulge and total magnitudes were extracted via two-dimensional profile fitting. As a first order approximation, all galaxies were modeled using a simple Sérsic-bulge+exponential-disk decomposition. However, we found that such models did not adequately describe the structure that we observed in a large fraction of our sample galaxies which often include cores, bars, nuclei, inner disks, spiral arms, rings, and envelopes. In such cases, we adopted profile modifications and/or more complex models with additional components. The derived bulge magnitudes are very sensitive to the details and number of components used in the models, although total magnitudes remain almost unaffected. Usually, but not always, the luminosities and sizes of the bulges are overestimated when a simple bulge+disk decomposition is adopted in lieu of a more complex model. Furthermore, we found that some spheroids are not well fit when the ellipticity of the Sérsic model is held fixed. This paper presents the details of the image processing and analysis, while we discuss how model-induced biases and systematics in bulge magnitudes impact the M •-L bul relation in a companion paper.
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AffiliationNational Research Council Canada (NRC-CNRC); National Science Infrastructure
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number21270884
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Record identifier122eb8aa-b061-4017-b848-7e267cc21758
Record created2014-02-17
Record modified2016-05-09
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