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Durham University

Department of Physics

Staff profile

Publication details for Prof Tim Roberts

Mezcua, M., Roberts, T. P., Lobanov, A. P. & Sutton, A. D. (2015). The powerful jet of an off-nuclear intermediate-mass black hole in the spiral galaxy NGC 2276. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 448(2): 1893-1899.

Author(s) from Durham


Jet ejection by accreting black holes is a mass invariant mechanism unifying stellar and supermassive black holes (SMBHs) that should also apply for intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs), which are thought to be the seeds from which SMBHs form. We present the detection of an off-nuclear IMBH of ∼5 × 104 M⊙ located in an unusual spiral arm of the galaxy NGC 2276 based on quasi-simultaneous Chandra X-ray observations and European VLBI Network (EVN) radio observations. The IMBH, NGC2276-3c, possesses a 1.8 pc radio jet that is oriented in the same direction as large-scale (∼650 pc) radio lobes and whose emission is consistent with flat to optically thin synchrotron emission between 1.6 and 5 GHz. Its jet kinetic power (4 × 1040 erg s−1) is comparable to its radiative output and its jet efficiency (≥46 per cent) is as large as that of SMBHs. A region of ∼300 pc along the jet devoid of young stars could provide observational evidence of jet feedback from an IMBH. The discovery confirms that the accretion physics is mass invariant and that seed IMBHs in the early Universe possibly had powerful jets that were an important source of feedback.