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The Origin of Supermassive Black Holes

Event Details

Event Dates: 

Monday, October 9, 2017 - 4:00pm

Seminar Location: 

  • JILA Auditorium

Speaker Name(s): 

Amy Reines

Speaker Affiliation(s): 

Montana State University
Seminar Type/Subject

Scientific Seminar Type: 

  • Astrophysical & Planetary Sciences Seminar

Event Details & Abstract: 

The origin of supermassive black holes remains a major outstanding issue in modern astrophysics. These monster black holes reside in the nuclei of essentially every massive galaxy and power the most luminous quasars at the edge of the observable Universe. However, directly observing the first “seed” black holes in the early Universe - that can eventually grow to upwards of a billion solar masses - is not feasible with current telescopes. Present-day dwarf galaxies, on the other hand, are within observational reach and offer another avenue to learn about black hole seeds since low-mass galaxies can host relatively pristine black holes. In this talk, I will highlight some of my recent achievements in this field that have taken us from a few rare examples to large systematically assembled samples of dwarf galaxies hosting nuclear black holes. I will also discuss how my work has implications for directly detecting black hole activity in the first galaxies at high redshift.