Using the Faint Object Spectrograph (FOS) on Hubble Space Telescope (HST), Harms et al. (1994, H94) have recently reported the spectroscopy of central region of the elliptical galaxy M87. Ford et al. 1994 (hereafter F94), using Wide Field Planetary Camera-2 have imaged the region around the nucleus in Hα+[NII] and find an ionized disk with spiral structures of mainly two arms. From the kinematical argument, based on the Doppler shifts of several lines emitted from the disk, and assuming a Keplerian motion of the emitting gas, they conclude that the mass of the disk plus the nucleus: Mc (R < 18pc) = (2.4± 0.7)× 109M⊙ and the inclination angle of the disk with the line of sight is i = (42±5)°. However, if the bright spiral structures are real, and represent shocked region in the disk, we expect that the disk is strongly non-Keplerian and therefore the mass of the black hole must be higher than above estimation.
In the present contribution, we provide a complete description of the velocity field of the ionized disk and compute the shape of typical line profiles expected from various parts of the disk. Our analysis is based on the solution of a non-axisymmetric disk which includes two armed spiral density waves. We find a very good agreement between the theoretical and observed line profiles as regards to the Doppler shifts, line widths and the intensity ratios and estimate the mass of the black hole to be (4 ± 0.2) × 109M⊙. Details of this work will be published elsewhere (Chakrabarti, 1995).
In a binary system with a thin accretion disk, the binary companion can induce two armed spiral shocks in the disk (e.g., Matsuda et al. 1987, Spruit 1987, Chakrabarti & Matsuda, 1992). In the case of active galaxies, a passing companion (or a globular cluster or a dwarf galaxy) which is more massive than the disk can induce the same effect.