header graphic



[*] Hubble Space Telescope evidence for an intermediate-mass black hole in the globular cluster M15 - II. Kinematical analysis and dynamical modeling
Gerssen J., van der Marel R.P., Gebhardt K., Guhathakurta P., Peterson R., Pryor, C.
AJ, 124, 3270-3288, 2002

[*] Citations to this paper in the ADS

We analyze HST/STIS spectra (see Paper I) of the central region of the dense globular cluster M15. We infer the velocities of 64 individual stars, two-thirds of which have their velocity measured for the first time. This triples the number of stars with measured velocities in the central 1 arcsec of M15 and doubles the number in the central 2 arcsec. Combined with existing ground-based data we obtain the radial profiles of the projected kinematical quantities. The RMS velocity sigma_RMS rises to 14 km/s in the central few arcsec, somewhat higher than the values of 10-12 km/s inferred previously from ground-based data. To interpret the results we construct dynamical models based on the Jeans equation, which imply that M15 must have a central concentration of non-luminous material. If this is due to a single black hole, then its mass is M_BH = (3.9 +/- 2.2) x 10^3 solar masses. This is consistent with the relation between M_BH and sigma_RMS that has been established for galaxies. Also, the existence of intermediate-mass black holes in globular clusters is consistent with several scenarios for globular cluster evolution proposed in the literature. Therefore, these results may have important implications for our understanding of the evolution of globular clusters, the growth of black holes, the connection between globular cluster and galaxy formation, and the nature of the recently discovered `ultra-luminous' X-ray sources in nearby galaxies. Instead of a single black hole, M15 could have a central concentration of dark remnants (e.g., neutron stars) due to mass segregation. However, the best-fitting Fokker-Planck models that have previously been constructed for M15 do not predict a central mass concentration that is sufficient to explain the observed kinematics.[ABRIDGED]

Arrow Return to my bibliography.              Home Return to my home page.

Last modified November 29, 2002.
Roeland van der Marel, marel@stsci.edu.
Copyright Notice.