Discovery of five low-luminosity active galactic nuclei at the centre of the Perseus cluster
Journal article, 2017

According to optical stellar kinematics observations, an overmassive black hole candidate has been reported by van den Bosch et al. in the normal early-type galaxy NGC 1277. This galaxy is located in the central region of the Perseus cluster. Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope observations have shown that NGC 1277 and other early-type galaxies in the neighbourhood have radio counterparts. These nuclear radio sources have stable flux densities on a time-scale of years. In order to investigate the origin of the radio emission from these normal galaxies, we selected five sources (NGC 1270, NGC 1272, NGC 1277, NGC 1278 and VZw 339) residing in the central 10-arcmin region of the Perseus cluster and requested to re-correlate the data of an existing very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) experiment at these new positions. With the re-correlation data provided by the European VLBI Network (EVN), we imaged the five sources with a resolution of about 8 mas and detected all of them with a confidence level above 5σ at 1.4 GHz. They show compact structure and brightness temperatures above 107 K, which implies that the radio emission is non-thermal. We rule out ongoing nuclear star formation and conclude that these VLBI-detected radio sources are parsec-scale jet activity associated with the supermassive black holes in low-luminosity active galactic nuclei, although there are no clear signs of nuclear activity observed in the optical and infrared bands. Using the Fundamental Plane relation in black holes, we find no significant evidence for or against an extremely massive black hole hiding in NGC 1277.

galaxies: individual: NGC 1277 galaxies: jets radio continuum: galaxies


Songyoun Park

Yonsei University

Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute

Jun Yang

Chalmers, Earth and Space Sciences, Onsala Space Observatory

J.B. Raymond Oonk

Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON)

Leiden University

Z. Paragi

Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe (JIVE)

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

0035-8711 (ISSN) 1365-2966 (eISSN)

Vol. 465 4 3943-3948

Advanced Radio Astronomy in Europe (RADIONET3)

European Commission (EC) (EC/FP7/283393), 2012-01-01 -- 2015-12-31.

Subject Categories

Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology


Basic sciences



More information

Latest update

9/6/2018 2