Astronomy Seminar--From Ignition to Embers: Supermassive Black Hole Activity Across Cosmic Time and Space

3:00 PM  - 4:00 PM
Tuesday Feb 12, 2013
Room 150, Olin-Rice Science Center

Dr. Brendan Miller, Astronomy Department, University of Michigan.

I will discuss the formation, growth, and activity of supermassive black holes (SMBHs), from high redshift to the local Universe. As luminous but short-lived quasars, SMBHs accrete at several percent of the Eddington limit and can generate sufficient radiation and outflowing matter to impact the evolution of their host galaxy. We are currently investigating broad absorption line winds to better understand the geometry, covering factor, and kinetic energy of the outflowing gas. Even after exiting the quasar phase, weakly accreting SMBHs may provide ongoing mechanical feedback relevant to quenching star formation and reddening massive galaxies. Nearly quiescent SMBHs have been dynamically confirmed to inhabit the centers of many local galaxies, including our own Milky Way. We are carrying out volume-limited studies of optically-selected early-type galaxies to assess the relationship between low-level SMBH activity, as detected in X-ray emission, and gas supply, star formation, and the large-scale surrounding environment. Finally, I will describe our new assessment of the SMBH occupation fraction of nearby lower mass galaxies, and discuss prospects for using such measurements to differentiate between SMBH seed formation mechanisms

This event is for: Students, Staff and Faculty

Sponsored By: Physics & Astronomy

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