Extended structure and fate of the nucleus in Henize 2-10

Dieu D. Nguyen, Anil C. Seth, Amy E. Reines, Mark Den Brok, David Sand, Brian McLeod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


We investigate the structure and nuclear region of the black hole (BH) hosting galaxy Henize 2-10. Surface brightness profiles are analyzed using Magellan/Megacam g- and r-band images. Excluding the central starburst, we find a best-fit two-component Sérsic profile with nin∼ 0.6, reff, in ∼ 260 pc and nout∼ 1.8, r ∼ 1 kpc. Integrating out to our outermost data point (100″ ∼ 4.3 kpc), we calculate Mg= -19.2 and Mr= -19.8. The corresponding enclosed stellar mass is M ∼ (10 ± 3) × 109M, ∼3 × larger than previous estimates. Apart from the central ≲500 pc, with blue colors and an irregular morphology, the galaxy appears to be an early-type system. The outer color is quite red, (g-r)0= 0.75, suggesting a dominant old population. We study the nuclear region of the galaxy using archival Gemini/NIFS K-band adaptive optics spectroscopy and Hubble Space Telescope imaging. We place an upper limit on the BH mass of ∼107M from the NIFS data, consistent with that from the MBH-radio-X-ray fundamental plane. No coronal lines are seen, but a Brγ source is located at the position of the BH with a luminosity consistent with the X-ray emission. The starburst at the center of Henize 2-10 has led to the formation of several super star clusters, which are within ∼100 pc of the BH. We examine the fate of the nucleus by estimating the dynamical masses and dynamical friction timescales of the clusters. The most massive clusters (∼106M) have τdyn≲ 200 Myr, and thus Henize 2-10 may represent a rare snapshot of nuclear star cluster formation around a preexisting massive BH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number34
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 10 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • methods: data analysis
  • surveys
  • techniques: spectroscopic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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