Improvements in AGN Black Hole Mass Measurements and Methods: Lessons Learned and New Future Applications

Event Date: 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 - 4:00pm

Event Location: 

  • Broida 3302

Event Contact: 

Tommaso Treu

Astrophysics Seminar


Kelly Denney (Dark Cosmology Centre, Niels Bohr Institute, Denmark)

I will present recent efforts to address the widely debated reliability of CIV-based AGN black hole mass estimates, and I will explain the primary cause for the apparent discrepancy between these and Hbeta-based masses. The results of such analyses provide a set of 'best practices' for obtaining reliable CIV-based mass estimates for future studies of galaxy evolution and cosmic accretion history. In addition, I will show that through a reduction in the scatter and a solid understanding of the physical origin, the Broad Line Region Radius-Luminosity relationship that is derived from reverberation mapping, and which makes high-redshift black hole mass estimates possible, has a new, potential application: as a cosmic distance indicator. I will discuss this possibility and current efforts underway to investigate the possible future use of this newly suggested rung to the distance ladder.