Intermediate-Mass Black Holes in Globular Cluster Systems
Theory suggests that globular clusters (GCs) of stars can host intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs) with masses of about 100 to 100,000 solar masses. We invoke a semi-empirical model to predict the mass of an IMBH that, if undergoing accretion in the long-lived hard X-ray state, is consistent with the synchrotron radio luminosity of a GC. We apply this model to extant images from the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) and to simulated images from the Next Generation Very Large Array (ngVLA). Guided by our VLA results for M81's system of 206 probable GCs at a distance of 3.6 Mpc, we consider using the ngVLA to study the hundreds of globular cluster systems out to a distance of 25 Mpc. With its sensitivity, spatial resolution, and field of view, we conclude that the ngVLA at 2cm will efficiently probe IMBH masses for tens of thousands of GCs. Finding IMBHs in GCs could validate a formation channel for seed BHs in the early universe, underpin gravitational wave predictions for space missions, and test scaling relations between stellar systems and the central BHs they host. The NRAO is a facility of the NSF, operated under cooperative agreement by AUI, Inc.
American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts #231
- Pub Date:
- January 2018