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Abstract: Isophotal analysis of M87, using data from the Advanced Camera for Surveys,reveals a projected displacement of 6.8 +- 0.8 pc ~ 0.1 arcsec between thenuclear point source presumed to be the location of the supermassive blackhole, SMBH and the photo-center of the galaxy. The displacement is along aposition angle of 307 +- 17 degrees and is consistent with the jet axis. Thissuggests the active SMBH in M87 does not currently reside at the galaxy centerof mass, but is displaced in the counter-jet direction. Possible explanationsfor the displacement include orbital motion of an SMBH binary, gravitationalperturbations due to massive objects e.g., globular clusters, acceleration byan asymmetric or intrinsically one-sided jet, and gravitational recoilresulting from the coalescence of an SMBH binary. The displacement directionfavors the latter two mechanisms. However, jet asymmetry is only viable, at theobserved accretion rate, for a jet age of >0.1 Gyr and if the galaxy restoringforce is negligible. This could be the case in the low density core of M87. Amoderate recoil ~1 Myr ago might explain the disturbed nature of the nucleargas disk, could be aligned with the jet axis, and can produce the observedoffset. Alternatively, the displacement could be due to residual oscillationsresulting from a large recoil that occurred in the aftermath of a major mergerany time in the last 1 Gyr.

Author: D. Batcheldor, A. Robinson, D. J. Axon, E. S. Perlman, D. Merritt

Source: https://arxiv.org/

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