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Title: UGC 4211: A Confirmed Dual Active Galactic Nucleus in the Local Universe at 230 pc Nuclear Separation
Abstract We present multiwavelength high-spatial resolution (∼0.″1, 70 pc) observations of UGC 4211 at z = 0.03474, a late-stage major galaxy merger at the closest nuclear separation yet found in near-IR imaging (0.″32, ∼230 pc projected separation). Using Hubble Space Telescope/Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph, Very Large Telescope/MUSE+AO, Keck/OSIRIS+AO spectroscopy, and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) observations, we show that the spatial distribution, optical and near-infrared emission lines, and millimeter continuum emission are all consistent with both nuclei being powered by accreting supermassive black holes (SMBHs). Our data, combined with common black hole mass prescriptions, suggest that both SMBHs have similar masses, log M BH / M ⊙ ∼ 8.1 (south) and log M BH / M ⊙ ∼ 8.3 (north), respectively. The projected separation of 230 pc (∼6× the black hole sphere of influence) represents the closest-separation dual active galactic nuclei (AGN) studied to date with multiwavelength resolved spectroscopy and shows the potential of nuclear (<50 pc) continuum observations with ALMA to discover hidden growing SMBH pairs. While the exact occurrence rate of close-separation dual AGN is not yet known, it may be surprisingly high, given that UGC 4211 was found within a small, volume-limited sample of nearby hard X-ray detected AGN. Observations of dual SMBH binaries in the subkiloparsec regime at the final stages of dynamical friction provide important constraints for future gravitational wave observatories.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
2020265 2106552 1909933
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; more » ; ; ; ; ; ; « less
Date Published:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal Letters
Page Range / eLocation ID:
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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