Astronomy Colloquia

AGN feedback in Clusters of Galaxies

Speaker: 
Julie Hlavacek-Larrondo (Universite de Montreal)
Event Date and Time: 
Mon, 2016-02-22 15:30 - 16:45
Location: 
Hennings 318
Local Contact: 
Jaymie Matthews
Intended Audience: 
Graduate
The last few decades have shown us that radio jets originating from supermassive black holes can interact strongly with their surrounding medium. During this talk, I will review the current status of this field, known as AGN feedback, while focusing on the most massive black holes in the Universe, those that lie at the centers of galaxy clusters. I will review the physics behind these interactions and then focus on the evolution of radio feedback over cosmic time while presenting new results from clusters discovered via the South Pole Telescope.

The Chemistry of Planet Formation

Speaker: 
Karin Oberg (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)
Event Date and Time: 
Mon, 2016-01-18 15:30 - 16:30
Location: 
Hennings 318
Local Contact: 
Jaymie Matthews
Intended Audience: 
Graduate

Planets form from dust and gas in disks around young stars. The chemical composition and structures of these disks regulate planet formation efficiencies, bulk planet compositions (including their C/O ratio), and the volatile and organic content of nascent planets. Understanding disk chemical structures and inventories is therefore key to constrain planet formation and planet habitability. In the age of ALMA we can observe this chemistry on Solar System scales and the results are spectacular.

Supermassive Black Holes in Galaxy Nuclei:Coevolution (Or Not) Of Black Holes And Host Galaxies

Speaker: 
John Kormendy (University of Texas at Austin)
Event Date and Time: 
Mon, 2015-11-09 15:30 - 16:30
Location: 
Hennings 318
Local Contact: 
Jaymie Matthews, Mark Halpern
Intended Audience: 
Graduate

Supermassive black holes (BHs) with masses of ~ 10**6 to 10**9 Solar masses are believed to live at the centers of most large galaxies. I review the observed demographics and inferred evolution of BHs found by spatially resolved kinematic measurements. Tight correlations between BH mass and the mass and velocity dispersion of the host-galaxy bulge have led to the belief that BHs and bulges co-evolve by regulating each other's growth. New results replace this simple story with a richer and more plausible picture in which BHs correlate differently with different galaxy components.

The Nonconservative Action Principle: Basic Formalism and Numerical Applications

Speaker: 
Dave Tsang
Event Date and Time: 
Mon, 2015-08-24 15:30 - 16:30
Location: 
TBA (Likely Hennings 318)
I will outline the nonconservative variational principle that we
have recently developed, which allows for nonconservative processes to be generically modeled with an action.

Fast Radio Bursts: Lessons in Deduction

Speaker: 
Sarah Burke Spolaor (Caltech)
Event Date and Time: 
Mon, 2015-11-16 15:30 - 16:30
Location: 
Hennings 318
Local Contact: 
Jaymie Matthews
Intended Audience: 
Graduate
Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) are millisecond-duration radio signals shrouded in mystery and a deficit of informative data. Still, FRB science has been building rapidly since their first discovery in 2007. Until recently, only circumstantial evidence allowed statements on what progenitors FRBs might arise from, and whether they are local, Galactic, or extragalactic. We are now detecting FRB events in real-time, and have the capability to detect FRBs with radio interferometers.

Common Envelope and the Formation of Close Neutron Star Binaries

Speaker: 
Morgan MacLeod (UCSC)
Event Date and Time: 
Mon, 2015-10-26 15:30 - 16:30
Location: 
Hennings 318
Local Contact: 
Harvey Richer, Jaymie Matthews
Intended Audience: 
Graduate

How do close neutron star binaries form? Many aspects of our understanding of the complex channels through which compact binaries form remain uncertain. This talk focuses on a crucial phase in the formation of close binary pairs of neutron stars: a common envelope episode. During the common envelope phase, one star evolves to engulf its companion in a shared gaseous envelope. Before this envelope is ejected, drag forces pull the two stellar cores into a tighter orbit. But the neutron star can also accrete from the surrounding gas.

Theoretical Challenges in the Dark Energy Program

Speaker: 
Andrew Zentner
Event Date and Time: 
Mon, 2015-09-28 15:30 - 16:30
Location: 
Hennings 318

Many experiments are seeking to constrain the dark energy that drives contemporary cosmological acceleration using a variety of techniques. One of the techniques with the greatest potential is weak gravitational lensing. Gravitational lensing by large-scale structure in the Universe has the statistical power to constrain the dark energy equation of state to better than 1%. Recognized systematic errors are a significant challenge to this program.

The Diversity and Demographics of Distant Rocky Worlds

Speaker: 
Leslie Rogers (Caltech)
Event Date and Time: 
Mon, 2015-11-23 15:30 - 16:30
Location: 
Hennings 318
Local Contact: 
Jaymie Matthews
Intended Audience: 
Graduate
The discovery of exoplanets (planets outside our Solar System) has brought the settings of many science fiction stories within reach of scientific inquiry. Astronomers’ ever increasing sensitivity to smaller and smaller planets has opened the opportunity for empirical insights into the nature and demographics terrestrial worlds. Up to what size and mass do planets typically have rocky compositions? How Earth-like are these distant rocky worlds? How common are rocky planets in the Habitable Zones of their host stars?

The Coolest Place in the Solar System: Opportunistic Science with the Dark Energy Survey

Speaker: 
David Gerdes (U. Michigan)
Event Date and Time: 
Mon, 2015-10-19 15:30 - 16:30
Location: 
Hennings 318
Local Contact: 
Jaymie Matthews
Intended Audience: 
Graduate

The Dark Energy Survey is in the middle of a five-year mission to map one-eighth of the sky with unprecedented area and depth using the 4-meter Blanco telescope in Chile. The main goal of the survey is to understand the accelerating expansion of the Universe by imaging hundreds of millions of galaxies and thousands of Type Ia supernovae. But to collect these data we must look out through our own galaxy and Solar System.

Astronomy in the era of the LSST: Understanding our universe a bit at a time.

Speaker: 
Andrew Connolly (University of Washington)
Event Date and Time: 
Mon, 2015-11-02 15:30 - 16:30
Location: 
Hennings 318
Local Contact: 
Jaymie Matthews
Intended Audience: 
Graduate

With the development of new detectors, telescopes and computational facilities, survey astrophysics is entering an era where deep optical surveys are possible for a large fraction of the visible sky. One of the largest of these surveys, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), will comprise an 8.4 m primary mirror with a 9.6-square-degree field-of-view and a 3.2 Gigapixel camera.

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