Astronomy Colloquium for 2024-03-06

Series: Astronomy Colloquium
Date: Wednesday 06-Mar-2024
Time: 16:05-17:00 (4:05-5:00 pm)
Location: ATL 2400
Speaker: Dr. Michael Koss (Eureka)
Title: Merging Black Holes in Merging Galaxies: Using Multi-Wavelength Observations to Constrain the Prequel to Gravitational Waves

Massive black holes (MBHs), up to billions times more massive than the sun, lurk at the hearts of essentially all galaxies. One of the most efficient ways to grow these BHs is through mergers of galaxies, during which tidal interactions funnel large amounts of gas to the galaxiesí centers, to feed the MBHs. Eventually, the dual MBHs may collide, releasing gravitational waves and potentially forming recoiling MBHs that may escape the merger remnant. While several future GW facilities are designed to chase these enticing high-amplitude and low-frequency signals through cosmic history, most other parts of this astrophysical story are yet to be corroborated by observations, even in the nearby universe. I will present recent and on-going efforts to identify and survey the population of merging MBHs in merging galaxies, pursued with observations across the electromagnetic spectrum. I will focus on high-resolution observations using both large ground-based telescopes with ďadaptive optics'' and space-borne telescopes, which have enabled the identification of dual MBHs, and their links to powerful/enhanced accretion. New and upcoming facilities, including JWST, ALMA, TMT, and Rubin, promise to find many more such systems and to eventually link the complex astrophysics to fundamental gravitational physics.

In-person 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 Dr. Leslie Sage. Lunch will normally be reserved for the speaker to talk to graduate students. Anyone asking a question during a talk is asked to raise their hand and be acknowledged before speaking. Contact Dr. Leslie Sage for details.

Colloquium Organizer: Dr. Leslie Sage


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.

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