On the need of an ultramassive black hole in OJ 287

Publication date: 
Main author: 
Valtonen, Mauri J.
IAA authors: 
Gomez, Jose L.
Valtonen, Mauri J.;Zola, Staszek;Gopakumar, A.;Lähteenmäki, Anne;Tornikoski, Merja;Dey, Lankeswar;Gupta, Alok C.;Pursimo, Tapio;Knudstrup, Emil;Gomez, Jose L.;Hudec, Rene;Jelínek, Martin;Štrobl, Jan;Berdyugin, Andrei V.;Ciprini, Stefano;Reichart, Daniel E.;Kouprianov, Vladimir V.;Matsumoto, Katsura;Drozdz, Marek;Mugrauer, Markus;Sadun, Alberto;Zejmo, Michal;Sillanpää, Aimo;Lehto, Harry J.;Nilsson, Kari;Imazawa, Ryo;Uemura, Makoto;, James W. Davidson, Jr.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Publication type: 
The highly variable blazar OJ 287 is commonly discussed as an example of a binary black hole system. The 130 year long optical light curve is well explained by a model where the central body is a massive black hole of 18.35× 10<SUP>9</SUP> solar mass that supports a thin accretion disc. The secondary black hole of 0.15× 10<SUP>9</SUP> solar mass impacts the disc twice during its 12 year orbit, and causes observable flares. Recently, it has been argued that an accretion disc with a typical AGN accretion rate and above mentioned central body mass should be at least six magnitudes brighter than OJ 287's host galaxy and would therefore be observationally excluded. Based on the observations of OJ 287's radio jet, detailed in Marscher and Jorstad (2011), and up-to-date accretion disc models of Azadi et al. (2022), we show that the V-band magnitude of the accretion disc is unlikely to exceed the host galaxy brightness by more than one magnitude, and could well be fainter than the host. This is because accretion power is necessary to launch the jet as well as to create electromagnetic radiation, distributed across many wavelengths, and not concentrated especially on the optical V-band. Further, we note that the claimed V-band concentration of accretion power leads to serious problems while interpreting observations of other Active Galactic Nuclei. Therefore, we infer that the mass of the primary black hole and its accretion rate do not need to be smaller than what is determined in the standard model for OJ 287.
ADS Bibcode: 
BL Lacertae objects: individual: OJ 287;quasars: supermassive black holes;accretion;accretion discs;gravitational waves;galaxies: jets