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A Search for Wandering Black Holes in the Milky Way with Gaia and DECaLS

Greene, Jenny E. and Lancaster, Lachlan and Ting, Yuan-Sen and Koposov, Sergey E. and Danieli, Shany and Huang, Song and Jiang, Fangzhou and Greco, Johnny P. and Strader, Jay (2021) A Search for Wandering Black Holes in the Milky Way with Gaia and DECaLS. Astrophysical Journal, 917 (1). Art. No. 17. ISSN 0004-637X. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/ac0896.

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We present a search for "hypercompact" star clusters in the Milky Way using a combination of Gaia and the Dark Energy Camera Legacy Survey (DECaLS). Such putative clusters, with sizes of ~1 pc and containing 500–5000 stars, are expected to remain bound to intermediate-mass black holes (M_(BH) ≈ 10³–10⁵ M_⊙) that may be accreted into the Milky Way halo within dwarf satellites. Using the semianalytic model SatGen, we find an expected ~100 wandering intermediate-mass black holes if every infalling satellite hosts a black hole. We do not find any such clusters in our search. Our upper limits rule out 100% occupancy but do not put stringent constraints on the occupation fraction. Of course, we need stronger constraints on the properties of the putative star clusters, including their assumed sizes and the fraction of stars that would be compact remnants.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Greene, Jenny E.0000-0002-5612-3427
Lancaster, Lachlan0000-0002-0041-4356
Ting, Yuan-Sen0000-0001-5082-9536
Koposov, Sergey E.0000-0003-2644-135X
Danieli, Shany0000-0002-1841-2252
Huang, Song0000-0003-1385-7591
Jiang, Fangzhou0000-0001-6115-0633
Greco, Johnny P.0000-0003-4970-2874
Strader, Jay0000-0002-1468-9668
Alternate Title:A Search for Wandering Black Holes with Gaia and DECaLS
Additional Information:© 2021. The American Astronomical Society. Received 2021 March 25; revised 2021 May 16; accepted 2021 May 29; published 2021 August 10. J.E.G. acknowledges support from NSF grants AST-1815417 and AST-1907723. Y.-S.T. is grateful to be supported by the NASA Hubble Fellowship grant HST-HF2-51425.001 awarded by the Space Telescope Science Institute. S.D. is supported by NASA through Hubble Fellowship grant HST-HF2-51454.001-A awarded by the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Incorporated, under NASA contract NAS5-26555. J.P.G. is supported by an NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowship under award AST-1801921. J.S. acknowledges support from NSF grant AST-1812856 and the Packard Foundation. This paper made use of the Whole Sky Database (wsdb) created by Sergey Koposov and maintained at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge, by Sergey Koposov, Vasily Belokurov, and Wyn Evans with financial support from the Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the European Research Council (ERC). The Legacy Surveys consist of three individual and complementary projects: the Dark Energy Camera Legacy Survey (DECaLS; Proposal ID #2014B-0404; PIs: David Schlegel and Arjun Dey), the Beijing-Arizona Sky Survey (BASS; NOAO Prop. ID #2015A-0801; PIs: Zhou Xu and Xiaohui Fan), and the Mayall z-band Legacy Survey (MzLS; Prop. ID #2016A-0453; PI: Arjun Dey). DECaLS, BASS, and MzLS together include data obtained, respectively, at the Blanco telescope, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, NSF's NOIRLab; the Bok telescope, Steward Observatory, University of Arizona; and the Mayall telescope, Kitt Peak National Observatory, NOIRLab. The Legacy Surveys project is honored to be permitted to conduct astronomical research on Iolkam Du'ag (Kitt Peak), a mountain with particular significance to the Tohono O'odham Nation. NOIRLab is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation. This project used data obtained with the Dark Energy Camera (DECam), which was constructed by the Dark Energy Survey (DES) collaboration. Funding for the DES Projects has been provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. National Science Foundation, the Ministry of Science and Education of Spain, the Science and Technology Facilities Council of the United Kingdom, the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Kavli Institute of Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago, the Center for Cosmology and Astro-Particle Physics at The Ohio State University, the Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy at Texas A&M University, Financiadora de Estudos e Projetos, Fundacao Carlos Chagas Filho de Amparo, Financiadora de Estudos e Projetos, Fundacao Carlos Chagas Filho de Amparo a Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Cientifico e Tecnologico and the Ministerio da Ciencia, Tecnologia e Inovacao, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, and the Collaborating Institutions in the Dark Energy Survey. The Collaborating Institutions are Argonne National Laboratory, the University of California at Santa Cruz, the University of Cambridge, Centro de Investigaciones Energeticas, Medioambientales y Tecnologicas-Madrid, the University of Chicago, University College London, the DES-Brazil Consortium, the University of Edinburgh, the Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zurich, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Institut de Ciencies de l'Espai (IEEC/CSIC), the Institut de Fisica d'Altes Energies, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Ludwig Maximilians Universitat Munchen and the associated Excellence Cluster Universe, the University of Michigan, NSF's NOIRLab, the University of Nottingham, The Ohio State University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Portsmouth, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Stanford University, the University of Sussex, and Texas A&M University. The Legacy Surveys imaging of the DESI footprint is supported by the Director, Office of Science, Office of High Energy Physics of the U.S. Department of Energy under contract No. DE-AC02-05CH1123; by the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, a DOE Office of Science User Facility under the same contract; and by the U.S. National Science Foundation, Division of Astronomical Sciences under contract No. AST-0950945 to NOAO.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASA Hubble FellowshipHST-HF2-51425.001
NASA Hubble FellowshipHST-HF2-51454.001-A
NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics FellowshipAST-1801921
David and Lucile Packard FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)UNSPECIFIED
European Research Council (ERC)UNSPECIFIED
Department of Energy (DOE)DE-AC02-05CH1123
Subject Keywords:Intermediate-mass black holes; Milky Way stellar halo; Star clusters
Issue or Number:1
Classification Code:Unified Astronomy Thesaurus concepts: Intermediate-mass black holes (816); Milky Way stellar halo (1060); Star clusters (1567)
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210813-181203605
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Jenny E. Greene et al 2021 ApJ 917 17
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:110260
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:13 Aug 2021 22:59
Last Modified:13 Aug 2021 22:59

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