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Where are the two black holes in galaxy mergers ?

Claire Max (University of California at Santa Cruz)

It is well known that most galaxies host supermassive black holes in their cores, and that the masses of these black holes are well correlated with properties of the galaxies’ spheroid. We are investigating what happens to the two supermassive black holes during gas-rich galaxy mergers. I will report on results from a program of laser guide star adaptive optics observations at the Keck Observatory to study two categories of merging galaxies : 1) nearby end-stage merger remnants selected from a well-characterized sample of LIRGs and ULIRGs, and 2) galaxies selected from the SDSS survey that have double [OIII] emission lines and dual spatial structure.