Dusty circumnuclear disks (CNDs) in luminous early-type galaxies (ETGs) show regular, dynamically cold molecular gas kinematics. For a growing number of these ETGs, Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter Array (ALMA) CO imaging and detailed gas-dynamical modeling have yielded moderate to high precision black hole (BH) mass (M_BH) determinations. To date, however, few studies have explored the effects of dust attenuation, or uncertainties in dust corrections, on recovered stellar luminosity models from high angular resolution optical/near-IR observations and M_BH measurements. Recent kinematic studies that modeled ALMA CO data sets have found that uncertainties in the intrinsic central stellar surface brightness slope due to dust may even dominate the BH mass error budgets. From the ALMA archive, we identified a subset of 26 ETGs with clean CO kinematics and good prospects for eventual MBH determination but that did not have sufficiently high angular resolution observations in the optical and near-IR. We have obtained new optical and near-IR Hubble Space Telescope (HST) images of this sample to supplement the archival HST data. Together, these new and archival HST data will enable the mitigation of dusty CND obscuration in the construction of dust-corrected stellar luminosity models, leading to both BH mass measurement and complete error analysis using existing ALMA CO imaging. Here, we present the sample properties, data analysis techniques, and dust-masked stellar surface brightness profiles and luminosity models using the multi-Gaussian expansion formalism. With estimated M_BH/M_⊙ ≳ 10^8 to few x10^9 , securing quality M_BH determinations for this sample of ETGs will significantly improve the high-mass end of the current BH census, facilitating new scrutiny of local BH mass-host galaxy scaling relationships.



College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Physics and Astronomy



Date Submitted


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elliptical galaxies, lenticular galaxies, galactic nuclei, galaxy kinematics, galaxy dynamics