We calibrate reverberation-based black hole masses in active galactic nuclei (AGNs) by using the correlation between black hole mass, MBH, and bulge/spheroid stellar velocity dispersion, σ[sigma]∗. We use new measurements of σ[sigma]∗ for 6 AGNs and published velocity dispersions for 10 others, in conjunction with improved reverberation mapping results, to determine the scaling factor required to bring reverberation-based black hole masses into agreement with the quiescent galaxy MBH–σ[sigma]∗ relationship. The scatter in the AGN BH masses is found to be less than a factor of 3. The current observational uncertainties preclude use of the scaling factor to discriminate between broad-line region models. (Refer to PDF file for exact formulas).

Publication Date



This is the pre-print of an article published by the American Astronomical Society. The final, published version is available here: https://doi.org/10.1086/424655

© 2004 The American Astronomical Society

Also archived in: arXiv:astro-ph/0407297 v1 14 Jul 2004

We acknowledge support for this work through NSF Grant AST0205964 to The Ohio State University. A. W. acknowledges support by BSF under grant number 1999-336.

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Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

School of Physics and Astronomy (COS)


RIT – Main Campus