Stellar Dynamical Measurements of the Black Hole in M87 and Friends

Playing this video requires the latest flash player from Adobe.

Download link (right click and 'save-as') for playing in VLC or other compatible player.

Recording Details

Scientific Areas: 
PIRSA Number: 


Stellar dynamical measurements of black hole masses have become the de facto standard method. I will give a brief review of how this measurement method works, along with arguments for its overall reliability and caveats. Then I will turn my attention to the case of the black hole in M87. The black hole is undeniably large ? billions of solar masses ? but has a stellar dynamical mass measurement in disagreement with gas dynamical mass measurements at about the 2 sigma level. I will discuss potential systematic uncertainties in both measurements and avenues to reconciling the discrepancy.