Astronomy Colloquium for 2017-03-27

Series: Astronomy Colloquium
Date: Monday 27-Mar-2017
Time: 15:00-16:00 (3:00-4:00 pm)
Location: CSS 2400
Speaker: Dr. Amy Reines (NOAO)
Title: The Origin of Supermassive Black Holes

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. Finally, I will describe my future plans to probe the origin of supermassive black holes with dwarf galaxies, and provide the much needed observational constraints on the otherwise theory-dominated work on the formation of the first black hole seeds.

Colloquia are usually preceded by espresso and ice cream at 1:45 pm outside room PSC 1150 and are followed by an informal reception at 5:15 pm in that room. Anyone interested in talking with the speaker, or being added to the colloquium announcement email list, should contact the colloquium organizer. Lunch will normally be reserved for the speaker to talk to graduate students.

Colloquium Organizer: Prof. Stuart Vogel


Special accommodations for individuals with disabilities can be made by calling (301) 405-3001. It would be appreciated if we are notified at least one week in advance.


Directions and information about parking can be found here.

This page was automatically generated on: 24-Feb-2017.