STIS spectroscopy of the central 10 parsecs of M81: Evidence for a massive black hole

Nick Devereux, Holland Ford, Zlatan Tsvetanov, George Jacoby

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Spectroscopic observations of the central 10 pc of M81 were obtained with STIS on board the Hubble Space Telescope during Cycle 7. Measurements of the Hα+[N II] blend reveal a velocity field indicative of a rotating disk of gas. The two-dimensional velocity field has been modeled as a thin disk rotating in a spherical gravitational potential. Minimizing the difference between the model and the observations allows useful constraints to be placed on the mass of the black hole in this mini Seyfert 1 galaxy. The data suggest that the mass of the nuclear black hole in M81 is 7.0-1+2 × 107 M and that the normal to the disk is inclined at an angle of 14° ± 2° to the line of sight.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1226-1235
Number of pages10
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number3 1767
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2003



  • Galaxies: Seyfert
  • Galaxies: individual (M81, NGC 3031)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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