Gsmt science Use Case Title: The m bh s Relation at Low Masses Authors

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GSMT Science Use Case
Title: The MBH - s Relation at Low Masses

Authors: Stephen E. Zepf
Abstract: Recent work has brought about the discovery of a black hole X-ray binary in an extragalactic globular cluster, providing the first unambiguous evidence for a black hole in a globular cluster. Even more recent work has found emission lines from this globular cluster black hole source. Studies of the emission lines of this object and others like it that may be discovered can constrain the mass of the black hole and thus the MBH -s relation forglobular clusters. These studies also provide a detailed study of accretion onto a black hole and corresponding feedback in a dense stellar environment. Such work naturally lends itself to integral field spectroscopy at high spatial resolution (< 0.1″) and moderate spectral resolution (R ~ 2,000) on a very large aperture telescope.
Summary Table:
Summarize the observations in terms of telescope, instruments, number of nights, observing mode and instrument and AO requirements.



# Nights




AO Mode




1 night /object



AO (FWHM<0.1″)




6 hrs /object





Scientific Motivation:
Why is this use case of scientific interest?

The discovery of emission lines from a luminous black hole X-ray binary in an extragalactic globular cluster opens up the possibility to study this emission in detail to – 1) constrain the mass of the black hole in the globular cluster, which allows a determination of the behavior of the MBH - s relation in globular clusters,

2) study in detail the feedback from a luminous accreting black hole into its surrounding medium in a dense stellar system.

How can you use TMT and/or GMT and their candidate instruments to address this problem? Describe the observing strategy, including target selection and the needed measurements.

The best current understanding of the black hole system in RZ2109, a NGC 4472 globular cluster, is that the observed strong, broad [OIII] 4959, 5007 lines come from material driven across the globular cluster by accretion onto a stellar mass black hole near or above its Eddington limit (Zepf et al. 2008, ApJL, in press, arXiv:0805.2952, and references therein). This should be spatially resolved at the 0.1″ level, so can be tested with very high spatial resolution spectroscopy. HST/STIS time has been awarded to start in this direction, but even if successful, HST long-slit observations will leave many questions unanswered. These include the symmetry or likely asymmetry of the emitting material, an understanding of the radial distribution of the material beyond whether it is resolved or not, and investigations of the physical conditions in the emitting regions through line diagnostics. A separate but also interesting issue is the direct determination of the velocity dispersion of the globular cluster. This is made feasible by the giant aperture telescopes and high resolution spectrographs.

Thus, the observing program is a TMT IRIS-IFU observation to obtain study the line emission at high spatial resolution, supported by HROS or QSPEC observations of the host globular cluster to determine its velocity dispersion. At the current time, there is only one published example of a luminous X-ray binary in a globular cluster with known emission lines to be studied. The exposure times calculated are based on this object. Over time, more may be discovered, so the time is given per object. This emission provides a key way to constrain the mass of the black hole in the globular cluster, and the feedback we are observing in these emission lines allows the detailed study of the feedback process in a dense stellar environment.

Limiting Factors and the Current State of the Art:
What are the limiting factors for this problem (e.g. sensitivity, spatial resolution, time resolution)? Why hasn’t this problem been solved with current facilities?
The limiting factor is the combination of sensitivity and spatial resolution. The [OIII] 5007 line is readily detected with 8-10m class telescopes, but the spatial scale expected is on the order of 0.1″. The near-ir is then necessary to enable AO to achieve the required resolution, but all predictions for the best near-ir lines are that they will be fainter than 5007, thus requiring very large apertures. A very large aperture along with good natural seeing is also required for the high spectral resolution observations required to get velocity dispersions for globular clusters at the distance of Virgo. If HST+STIS works, this will help some, but ultimately, better spatial resolution, and full two-dimensional spectroscopic information will be required, particularly as the source and others like it are unlikely to be spherically symmetric.
Technical Details:
How would you actually carry out this program? Justify the sensitivities, exposure times, number of fields, total cost in terms of telescope hours or nights. Mode of observation, queue, classical, TOO, synoptic etc.
The exposure time for the IRIS-IFU observation was estimated by taking Cloudy models that account for the observed [OIII] 5007 flux, and predicting the flux in key near-ir lines. The specific target was S/N=10 over 100 pixels – if the actual scale is fairly extended, and the detector noise important, one can bin up to this number. The exposure time for the velocity dispersion of the host globular cluster was based on a R=50,000, S/N=30 per spectral resolution element for a V=21 NGC 4472 globular cluster, which has some slit losses.

Preparatory, Supporting, and Followup Observations:
What data are needed in advance of, or in support of these projects? If these require observing time on 4-10m class telescopes estimate the amount of time needed. What followup observations are needed?
For the known source in RZ2109, a deep near-infrared spectrum to test to predicted total flux levels would be necessary before going to more challenging spatially resolved spectroscopy. This would be of order 3-6 hours on a 8-10m telescope to obtain good signal-to-noise. An additional component of the overall science goals is to continue current programs following up sources with high X-ray luminosity in and out of globular clusters. This is in its infancy, as the first report of optical emission from one of these was published less than one year ago, but will be mature on the timescale of the giant telescopes. The specific requirements here are deep, wide-field imaging of the nearby early-type galaxies with good X-ray data, for which 4-m class telescopes are effective, and then follow-up 8-10m multi-object spectroscopy to determine the presence or absence of optical and eventually near-infrared emission lines.

Requirements and Goals Beyond the GMT and TMT Baseline Instrument Designs:
Are there capabilities needed for this science that are not in the TMT and GMT telescope, AO system and baseline instrument configurations? If so, what is the flow-down from the high level goals to the instrument requirements?
If HROS or QSPEC are considered baseline instruments, then there are no capabilities needed that are not part of the TMT AO system and the TMT/GMT baseline instrument plans.
Describe the need for specific observing conditions or operations mode(s) (needed image quality; atmospheric transmission; need for ‘interrupt-driven’ observations)
The program is flexible in this regard.

Describe the potential of the resulting database for ‘mining’ in service of carrying out complementary scientific programs; planning future programs
The targeted nature of the program makes it less likely to be of high value for data mining.
Describe the potential role of other ground- and space- based facilities in carrying out the proposed investigation (e.g. JWST; ALMA; LST)
The accreting black hole systems will likely produce radio and perhaps mm emission detectable by the next generation of facilities at these wavelengths (e.g. EVLA, ALMA).

Summary: For the most part, see abstract and science motivation sections above. This program also demonstrates the value of expanding discovery space, as the results that motivate this program are new and were unanticipated a year ago. The primary new discovery space in this context is deep moderate resolution spectroscopy at high spatial resolution of less than 0.1″.

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