University of Chicago
Supernassive Black Holes in Elliptical Galaxies
There is now irrefutable dynamical evidence for Supermassive Blackholes (SMBHs) at the centers of several nearby galaxies. One of the most important developments in the study of the demographics of galactic nuclei was the simultaneous discovery (by two different groups) of a tight empirical correlation between the masses of SMBHs and the velocities of stars in their host bulges. I will review the demographic relationships between supermassive black holes and their host galaxies and critically evaluate the ability of the most popular modeling algorithms to recover the masses of central black holes. I will present recent results that suggest that some of these demographic relations may be less well established than previously believed, and highlight the consequences of this for our understanding of the formation of Supermassive Black Holes and their host galaxies.