Dartmouth Events

Physics & Astronomy Colloquium - Mike Koss, Eureka Scientific

Title: "Merging Black Holes in Merging Galaxies: Linking Astrophysics and Fundamental Physics"

Wednesday, January 26, 2022
3:15pm – 4:15pm
Zoom (email for link & password)
Intended Audience(s): Public
Categories: Lectures & Seminars

Abstract: Massive black holes (MBHs), up to billions times more massive than the sun, lurk at the hearts of essentially all galaxies. One of the most efficient ways to grow these BHs is through mergers of galaxies, during which tidal interactions funnel large amounts of gas to the galaxies’ centers, to feed the MBHs. Eventually, the dual MBHs may collide, releasing gravitational waves and potentially forming recoiling MBHs that may escape the merger remnant.  While several future GW facilities are designed to chase these enticing high-amplitude and low-frequency signals through cosmic history, most other parts of this astrophysical story are yet to be corroborated by observations, even in the nearby universe. I will present recent and on-going efforts to identify and survey the population of merging MBHs in merging galaxies, pursued with observations across the electromagnetic spectrum. I will focus on high-resolution observations using both large ground-based telescopes with “adaptive optics'' and space-borne telescopes, which have enabled the identification of dual MBHs, and their links to powerful/enhanced accretion.  New and upcoming facilities, including JWST, ALMA, TMT, and Rubin, promise to find many more such systems, including through the time domain, and to eventually link the complex astrophysics to fundamental gravitational physics.

For more information, contact:
Tressena Manning

Events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.