The centres of massive galaxies are special in many ways, not least because apparently all of them host supermassive black holes. Since the discovery of a number of relations linking the mass of this central black hole to the large scale properties of the surrounding galaxy it has been suspected that the growth of the central black hole is intimately connected to the evolution of its host galaxy. However, at lower masses, and especially for pure disk galaxies, the situation is much less clear. Interestingly, these galaxies often host massive star clusters at their centres, and unlike black holes, these nuclear star clusters provide a visible record of the accretion of stars and gas into the nucleus.
I will present our ongoing observing programme of the nearest nuclear star clusters, including the one in our Milky Way. These observations provide important information on the formation mechanism of nuclear star clusters, allow us to measure potential black hole masses and give clues on how black holes get to the centres of galaxies.
|Prof. Nadine Neumayer
Max Planck Insitute for Astronomy, Heidelberg
|Département de physique, groupe Akrap