• 2015. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. Located in the Perseus cluster, NGC 1271 is an early-type galaxy with a small effective radius of 2.2 kpc and a large bulge stellar velocity dispersion of 276 km s -1 for its K-band luminosity of . We present a mass measurement for the black hole in this compact, high-dispersion galaxy using observations from the Near-infrared Integral Field Spectrometer on the Gemini North telescope assisted by laser guide star adaptive optics, large-scale integral field unit observations with PPAK at the Calar Alto Observatory, and Hubble Space Telescope WFC3 imaging observations. We are able to map out the stellar kinematics both on small spatial scales, within the black hole sphere of influence, and on large scales that extend out to four times the galaxy's effective radius. We find that the galaxy is rapidly rotating and exhibits a sharp rise in the velocity dispersion. Through the use of orbit-based stellar dynamical models, we determine that the black hole has a mass of and the H-band stellar mass-to-light ratio is ( uncertainties). NGC 1271 occupies the sparsely populated upper end of the black hole mass distribution but is very different from the brightest cluster galaxies (BCGs) and giant elliptical galaxies that are expected to host the most massive black holes. Interestingly, the black hole mass is an order of magnitude larger than expectations based on the galaxy's bulge luminosity but is consistent with the mass predicted using the galaxy's bulge stellar velocity dispersion. More compact, high-dispersion galaxies need to be studied using high spatial resolution observations to securely determine black hole masses, as there could be systematic differences in the black hole scaling relations between these types of galaxies and the BCGs/giant ellipticals, thereby implying different pathways for black hole and galaxy growth.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 5.6

author list (cited authors)

  • Walsh, J. L., van den Bosch, R., Gebhardt, K., Yildirim, A., Gueltekin, K., Husemann, B., & Richstone, D. O.

citation count

  • 41

complete list of authors

  • Walsh, Jonelle L||van den Bosch, Remco CE||Gebhardt, Karl||Yildirim, Akin||Gueltekin, Kayhan||Husemann, Bernd||Richstone, Douglas O

publication date

  • January 2015