The Astrophysics of Supermassive Black Holes

The Astrophysics of Supermassive Black Holes

Black holes are perhaps the most mysterious and enigmatic objects that one can imagine. Their gravitational fields are so strong that light is unable to escape their grasp, and even fundamental quantities such as space and time are severely disrupted by their presence.  Yet, despite their fantastical nature, astronomers have compiled significant evidence that black holes are actually quite common and are lying at the centers of almost all massive galaxies....

Date

October 21, 2014 - 2:00pm

Location

CULC Room 144

Black holes are perhaps the most mysterious and enigmatic objects that one can imagine. Their gravitational fields are so strong that light is unable to escape their grasp, and even fundamental quantities such as space and time are severely disrupted by their presence.  Yet, despite their fantastical nature, astronomers have compiled significant evidence that black holes are actually quite common and are lying at the centers of almost all massive galaxies. Therefore, black holes are no longer the theoretical subjects of mathematical physicists; they are now known to be crucial to our understanding of how galaxies and other structures in the Universe formed and evolved. This talk will provide an overview of our understanding of black holes in the observable universe, and outline how astrophysicists are using them to probe some of the deepest questions in the cosmos.