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Astronomy Colloquium
The Census of Supermassive Black Holes over Cosmic Time
Date: Thursday, September 28th
Time: 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Place: 4421 Sterling Hall
Speaker: Jonathan Trump, University of Connecticut
Abstract: Supermassive black holes are a critical ingredient in our Universe. They are the most luminous persistent sources in the sky, in both photons and gravitational waves, and they play an essential role in the formation and growth of galaxies. My research seeks a comprehensive census of black holes using two complementary approaches. First, I will show how pioneering new SDSS time-domain spectroscopy enables a census of black hole mass, growth rate, and spin over most of cosmic time. I will also present the forecast for Rubin/LSST discovery of binary black holes: the electromagnetic counterparts to gravitational echoes seen in pulsar timing and (eventually) LISA. Meanwhile the first year of JWST observations has revealed a surprisingly active early Universe, with a large number of massive black holes identified in z>5 galaxies. This implies a significant population of heavy black hole seeds and suggests that accreting black hole play a significant role in reionizing the Universe. The next generation of time-domain, space-telescope, and multi-messenger experiments make it a truly bright time for understanding the dark nature of black hole astrophysics.
Host: Ke Zhang
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