University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

MN Institute for Astrophysics Colloquium

Friday, April 21st 2017
Speaker: Stephanie Juneau, NOAO; CEA-Saclay
Subject: Cosmic Hide-and-Seek with Supermassive Black Holes

Supermassive black holes - with masses of millions to billions of times that of the Sun - reside in the nuclei of galaxies. While black holes are not directly visible, surrounding material becomes extremely luminous before being accreted, creating telltale signatures of black hole activity. In turn, the amount of activity tells us about black hole growth, and energy injection back into the host galaxies. This so-called black hole feedback is thought to play a role in galaxy evolution. Black hole activity is normally detectable at a range of wavebands including high energy X-rays. However, in some extreme cases, the usual signatures are either absorbed or obscured by intervening material along the line-of-sight. I will start by reviewing the state of the art in terms of black hole obscuration, and highlight new findings from a multi-scale analysis of gas ionization and dynamics thanks to 3D spectroscopy with the MUSE instrument. I will conclude with a global view of black hole growth and feedback in galaxies, including major questions that remain open for new capabilities such as the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), and large galaxy survey experiments such as DESI and Euclid.

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