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Nature. 2011 Jan 20;469(7330):377-80. doi: 10.1038/nature09695.

Supermassive black holes do not correlate with dark matter haloes of galaxies.

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Department of Astronomy, University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station, Austin, Texas 78712-0259, USA.


Supermassive black holes have been detected in all galaxies that contain bulge components when the galaxies observed were close enough that the searches were feasible. Together with the observation that bigger black holes live in bigger bulges, this has led to the belief that black-hole growth and bulge formation regulate each other. That is, black holes and bulges coevolve. Therefore, reports of a similar correlation between black holes and the dark matter haloes in which visible galaxies are embedded have profound implications. Dark matter is likely to be non-baryonic, so these reports suggest that unknown, exotic physics controls black-hole growth. Here we show, in part on the basis of recent measurements of bulgeless galaxies, that there is almost no correlation between dark matter and parameters that measure black holes unless the galaxy also contains a bulge. We conclude that black holes do not correlate directly with dark matter. They do not correlate with galaxy disks, either. Therefore, black holes coevolve only with bulges. This simplifies the puzzle of their coevolution by focusing attention on purely baryonic processes in the galaxy mergers that make bulges.


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