Bradley Observatory Open House

Friday, December 12, 2014
8:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Open House Lecture - Erin Bonning (Emory University)

Supermassive black holes: jets, disks, and kicks Supermassive black holes (i.e. those with millions to billions times the mass of the sun) are found at the heart of nearly every massive galaxy. They are the engine that drives luminous quasars, and they seem to play a critical, though still mysterious, role in galaxy evolution. Supermassive black holes acquire their bulk through two routes: mergers and accretion. In a subset of galaxies, the accretion process is actively ongoing: a hot disk of matter falls into the black hole, and, for reasons yet unknown, powerful relativistic jets of particles are occasionally launched into the intergalactic medium. I will discuss three active areas of research into these processes. First, what we can learn from gamma-ray bright active galaxies with jets, second, how black holes may regulate the formation of stars in galaxies, and finally, searches for binary black hole mergers from which the black hole is expected to be ejected from its host galaxy.