An observed fundamental plane relation for supermassive black holes

Philip F. Hopkins, Lars Hernquist, Thomas J. Cox, Brant Robertson, Elisabeth Krause

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Scopus citations


We study observed correlations between supermassive black hole (BHs) and the properties of their host galaxies and show that the observations define a BH "fundamental plane" (BHFP), of the form MBH χ σ3.0±0.3Re0.43±0.19 or MBH χ M0.54±0.17σ 2.2±0.5, analogous to the FP of elliptical galaxies. The BHFP is preferred over a simple relation between MBH and any of σ, M*, Mdyn, or Re alone at >3 σ (99.9%) significance. The existence of this BHFP has important implications for the formation of supermassive BHs and the masses of the very largest black holes and immediately resolves several apparent conflicts between the BH masses expected and measured for outliers in both the MBH-σ and M BH-M* relations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-73
Number of pages7
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1 2007


  • Cosmology: theory
  • Galaxies: active
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Quasars: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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