Events Daily

Friday, June 9, 2023

Supermassive black holes: where do they come from and how do they grow?
Chris Nagele, Haverford
Event Type: Informal Astro Talk
Time: 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Location: 726 Broadway, 940, CCPP Seminar
Abstract: Supermassive black holes are thought to be one of the fundamental ingredients in galaxy evolution, yet due to the difficulty of direct observation, basic questions such as the origin and growth of these black holes remain unanswered. A promising explanation for the origin of supermassive black holes is the direct collapse hypothesis, where massive gas clouds in the early universe contract to form supermassive stars which then collapse to black holes and become the seeds for observed supermassive black holes. This scenario is difficult to probe observationally because of the extreme distances involved, but one possibility is the general relativistic supernova of a supermassive star, an event which is luminous enough to be observed at high redshift. I will present numerical models of the evolution, instability and explosion of supermassive stars and discuss prospects for direct and indirect observation with current and future telescopes. I will then describe another recent paper where we attempt to elucidate correlations between active galactic nuclei and the morphology of the host galaxy using a variational autoencoder, a technique from generative modeling. We identify a correlation between host galaxy morphology and AGN activity and thus demonstrate the potential for similar techniques to be applied to larger datasets from future telescopes.