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Galaxies with monstrous black holes in galaxy cluster environments

van Son, Lieke AC; Barber, Christopher; Bahé, Yannick M; Schaye, Joop; Barnes, David J; Crain, Robert A; Kay, Scott T; Theuns, Tom; Vecchia, Claudio Dalla

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Lieke AC van Son

Christopher Barber

Yannick M Bahé

Joop Schaye

David J Barnes

Robert A Crain

Scott T Kay

Claudio Dalla Vecchia


Massive early-type galaxies follow a tight relation between the mass of their central supermassive black hole (MBH) and their stellar mass (M⋆). The origin of observed positive outliers from this relation with extremely high MBH (⁠>109M⊙⁠) remains unclear. We present a study of such outliers in the Hydrangea/C-EAGLE cosmological hydrodynamical simulations, designed to enable the study of high-mass galaxy formation and evolution in cluster environments. We find 69 MBH(M⋆) outliers at z = 0, defined as those with MBH>107M⊙ and MBH/M⋆ > 0.01. This paper focusses on a sample of 5 extreme outliers, that have been selected based on their MBH and M⋆ values, which are comparable to the most recent estimates of observed positive outliers. This sample of 5 outliers, classified as “Black hole monster galaxies” (BMGs), was traced back in time to study their origin and evolution. In agreement with the results of previous simulations for lower-mass MBH(M⋆) outliers, we find that these galaxies became outliers due to a combination of their early formation times and tidal stripping. For BMGs with MBH>109M⊙⁠, major mergers (with a stellar mass ratio of μ > 0.25) at early times (z > 2) precede the rapid growth of their supermassive BHs. Furthermore, the scatter in the relation between MBH and stellar velocity dispersion, σ, correlates positively with the scatter in [Mg/Fe](σ). This indicates that the alpha enhancement of these galaxies, which is closely related to their star formation history, is related to the growth of their central BHs.


van Son, L. A., Barber, C., Bahé, Y. M., Schaye, J., Barnes, D. J., Crain, R. A., …Vecchia, C. D. (2019). Galaxies with monstrous black holes in galaxy cluster environments. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 485(1), 396-407.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 6, 2019
Online Publication Date Feb 11, 2019
Publication Date May 1, 2019
Deposit Date Feb 19, 2019
Publicly Available Date Feb 19, 2019
Journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Print ISSN 0035-8711
Electronic ISSN 1365-2966
Publisher Royal Astronomical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 485
Issue 1
Pages 396-407


Accepted Journal Article (1.8 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2019 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.

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