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Conference Paper

On Supermassive Binary Black Holes in AGNs


Rieger,  Frank
Division Prof. Dr. Werner Hofmann, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Rieger, F. (2009). On Supermassive Binary Black Holes in AGNs. In F. A. Aharonian, W. Hofmann, & F. M. Rieger (Eds.), High energy gamma-ray astronomy: 4th International Meeting on High Energy Gamma-Ray Astronomy, Heidelberg, Germany, 7 - 11 July 2008 (pp. 632-635). Melville, N.Y.: American Inst. of Physics.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0011-7702-3
Supermassive binary black holes (SBBHs) are a natural outcome of hierarchical galaxy mergers, yet phenomeno- logical evidence for the existence of close (separation d<=0.1 pc) SBBHs, that are able to coalesce within a Hubble time, still remains ambiguous. We show that low- frequency quasi-periodic variability observed from (jet-aligned) radio-loud Active Galactic Nuclei (AGNs) can provide substantial inductive support for the presence of close SBBHs at their centers: It is argued on physical grounds that such close binary systems are likely to give rise to different (although not independent) periodicities in the radio, optical and X-ray/TeV regime, and, hence that detection of appropriate period ratios significantly corroborates the SBBH interpretation. We point out that a binary framework may further allow to reconcile some of the apparently divergent central mass estimates inferred from host galaxy and fast high energy variability observations, and in particular allow to relax minimum variability source constraints. Applications are discussed for the candidate sources Mkn 501, OJ 287 and PKS 2155-304.