Laura Brenneman


Measuring the spins of supermassive black holes (SMBHs) in active galactic nuclei (AGN) can inform us about the relative role of gas accretion vs. mergers in recent epochs of the life of the host galaxy and its AGN. Recent theoretical and observation advances have enabled spin measurements for ten SMBHs thus far, but this science is still very much in its infancy. Herein, I discuss how we measure black hole spin in AGN, using recent results from a long Suzaku campaign on NGC 3783 to illustrate this process and its caveats. I then present our current knowledge of the distribution of SMBH spins in the local universe. I also address prospects for improving the accuracy, precision and quantity of these spin constraints in the next decade and beyond with instruments such as NuSTAR, Astro-H and future large-area X-ray telescopes.


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ISSN 1210-2709 (Print)
ISSN 1805-2363 (Online)
Published by the Czech Technical University in Prague