Hunting for the Largest Black Holes

Nicholas McConnell (Plaskett Postdoctoral Fellow, National Research Council Canada, Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics)
Event Date and Time: 
Mon, 2016-03-14 15:30 - 16:30
Hennings 318
Local Contact: 
Jaymie Matthews and Linda Strubbe
In both the distant universe and our cosmic backyard, we find evidence for black holes as large as ~1-10 billion solar masses, dwarfing the more commonplace million-solar-mass black holes like the one at our Galactic Centre. The conventional paradigm for co-evolution of supermassive black holes and galaxies predicts that the most massive black holes presently reside in the most luminous elliptical galaxies. Yet astronomers have struggled to robustly connect these objects to the brightest and most massive quasars at earlier epochs, and recent studies have contributed a wide range of scenarios for growing the largest galaxies and black holes. I will discuss competing strategies for surveying the upper end of the black hole mass function in the local universe and introduce the MASSIVE galaxy survey, an emerging campaign with sufficient breadth to explore multiple evolutionary scenarios.
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