Supermassive Black Holes

Speaker: 
John Kormendy (University of Texas)
Event Date and Time: 
Wed, 2017-03-22 19:30 - 21:00
Location: 
Hennings Building (RM 202) 6224 Agricultural Road - UBC
Local Contact: 
Swarn Rai - 604-822-1383 or pitpoffice@phas.ubc.ca
Intended Audience: 
Public

Supermassive black holes, with masses up to many billions of Suns, live at the centers of many galaxies. They power quasars, where a volume as tiny as our Solar System outshines by many times a host galaxy made from hundreds of billions of stars. As in Hercules A, they can fire jets of particles like firehoses millions of light years into space. I review how this picture was developed, starting with my first supermassive black hole discovery in the Andromeda Galaxy in 1988. I will also describe how, with 86 supermassive black hole detections, we can now begin to understand how they do (and do not) affect the evolution of their host galaxies; and how they may have begun with the merging of dead remnants of the first stars that formed in the Universe.

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