A dynamical measure of the black hole mass in a quasar 11 billion years ago

R. Abuter, F. Allouche, A. Amorim, C. Bailet, A. Berdeu, J. P. Berger, P. Berio, A. Bigioli, O. Boebion, M. L. Bolzer, H. Bonnet, G. Bourdarot, P. Bourget, W. Brandner, Y. Cao, R. Conzelmann, M. Comin, Y. Clénet, B. Courtney-Barrer, R. DaviesD. Defrère, A. Delboulbé, F. Delplancke-Ströbele, R. Dembet, J. Dexter, P. T. de Zeeuw, A. Drescher, A. Eckart, C. Édouard, F. Eisenhauer, M. Fabricius, H. Feuchtgruber, G. Finger, N. M. Förster Schreiber, P. Garcia, R. Garcia Lopez, F. Gao, E. Gendron, R. Genzel, J. P. Gil, S. Gillessen, T. Gomes, F. Gonté, C. Gouvret, P. Guajardo, S. Guieu, W. Hackenberg, N. Haddad, M. Hartl, X. Haubois, F. Haußmann, G. Heißel, Th Henning, S. Hippler, S. F. Hönig, M. Horrobin, N. Hubin, E. Jacqmart, L. Jocou, A. Kaufer, P. Kervella, J. Kolb, H. Korhonen, S. Lacour, S. Lagarde, O. Lai, V. Lapeyrère, R. Laugier, J. B. Le Bouquin, J. Leftley, P. Léna, S. Lewis, D. Liu, B. Lopez, D. Lutz, Y. Magnard, F. Mang, A. Marcotto, D. Maurel, A. Mérand, F. Millour, N. More, H. Netzer, H. Nowacki, M. Nowak, S. Oberti, T. Ott, L. Pallanca, T. Paumard, K. Perraut, G. Perrin, R. Petrov, O. Pfuhl, N. Pourré, S. Rabien, C. Rau, M. Riquelme, S. Robbe-Dubois, S. Rochat, M. Salman, J. Sanchez-Bermudez, D. J.D. Santos, S. Scheithauer, M. Schöller, J. Schubert, N. Schuhler, J. Shangguan, P. Shchekaturov, T. T. Shimizu*, A. Sevin, F. Soulez, A. Spang, E. Stadler, A. Sternberg, C. Straubmeier, E. Sturm, C. Sykes, L. J. Tacconi, K. R.W. Tristram, F. Vincent, S. von Fellenberg, S. Uysal, F. Widmann, E. Wieprecht, E. Wiezorrek, J. Woillez, G. Zins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Tight relationships exist in the local Universe between the central stellar properties of galaxies and the mass of their supermassive black hole (SMBH)1–3. These suggest that galaxies and black holes co-evolve, with the main regulation mechanism being energetic feedback from accretion onto the black hole during its quasar phase4–6. A crucial question is how the relationship between black holes and galaxies evolves with time; a key epoch to examine this relationship is at the peaks of star formation and black hole growth 8–12 billion years ago (redshifts 1–3)7. Here we report a dynamical measurement of the mass of the black hole in a luminous quasar at a redshift of 2, with a look back in time of 11 billion years, by spatially resolving the broad-line region (BLR). We detect a 40-μas (0.31-pc) spatial offset between the red and blue photocentres of the Hα line that traces the velocity gradient of a rotating BLR. The flux and differential phase spectra are well reproduced by a thick, moderately inclined disk of gas clouds within the sphere of influence of a central black hole with a mass of 3.2 × 108 solar masses. Molecular gas data reveal a dynamical mass for the host galaxy of 6 × 1011 solar masses, which indicates an undermassive black hole accreting at a super-Eddington rate. This suggests a host galaxy that grew faster than the SMBH, indicating a delay between galaxy and black hole formation for some systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-285
Number of pages5
Issue number8003
StatePublished - 14 Mar 2024


FundersFunder number
CONAHCyT ‘Ciencia de FronteraCF-2019/263975
Ile-de-France region
Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur
Observatoire des Sciences de l’Univers de Grenoble, Université Grenoble Alpes
American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme101004719
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme
European Research Council866070
European Research Council
Science Foundation Ireland18/SIRG/5597, ANR-21-CE31-0011
Science Foundation Ireland
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
Fundação para a Ciência e a TecnologiaPTDC/FIS-AST/7002/2020, UIDB/00099/2020
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoIA 105023
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Université Côte d’Azur


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