- [*] The Central Mass Concentration in M15
- Gerssen J., van der Marel R.P.,
Gebhardt K., Guhathakurta P., Peterson R.C., Pryor C.
- in Carnegie Observatories Astrophysics Series,
Vol. 1: Coevolution of Black Holes and Galaxies, ed. L. C. Ho
(Pasadena: Carnegie Observatories, http://www.ociw.edu/ociw/symposia/series/symposium1/proceedings.html), in press, 2003
We have obtained stellar absorption line spectra with STIS to measure
the radial velocities of individual stars in the crowded center of the
globular cluster M15. These data increase the number of stars with
known radial velocities within the central arcsec by a factor of about
three and signficantly improve the constraints on the mass
distribution in M15. The data provide the most detailed look of the
central structure of any globular cluster and show that there is a
compact dark central mass component. Whether this is due to an
intermediate mass black hole or to normal mass segregation cannot yet
be uniquely established. However, the former does provide a plausible
interpretation of the data. If there is indeed a black hole, its mass
is consistent with the relation between velocity dispersion and black
hole mass that has been established for galaxies.
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Last modified March 30, 2003.
Roeland van der Marel,