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février 2019
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Sera Markoff (API/GRAPPA, University of Amsterdam) - Imaging (and imagining) Black Holes

Vendredi 1er février 11:00-12:00

Black holes are one of the most exotic consequences of Einstein’s General Relativity, yet they are also very common players in the Universe, existing on scales ranging from the stellar up to beasts over a billion times more massive than our sun. Contrary to their reputation as cosmic vacuum cleaners, they actually serve as engines for extremely energetic processes, playing a major role in regulating the growth of galaxies. Some black holes also launch enormous jets of relativistic plasma that accelerate particles to energies millions of times higher than the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Astronomers, astrophysicists and physicists all have reasons for wanting to understand black holes, yet we have been limited by the resolution of our telescopes from actually seeing one directly. This situation has changed dramatically with the coming of the Event Horizon Telescope, an Earth-sized array operating in the millimeter wavelength regime, that can actually make pictures of a couple of nearby supermassive black holes such as the one in our Galactic centre, Sgr A*, and the active galactic nucleus M87. I will briefly introduce the phenomenology of black hole accretion, and discuss some of the key problems we are still facing in terms of building a working model for these processes, and show some examples of the current cutting edge in modelling and interpretation. Along the way I will explain what the Event Horizon Telescope is, and how we anticipate the groundbreaking data from the first full run in April 2017 (note : I will not be able to show the results yet !) will help revolutionise our field and shed light on these complex environments.

Erika Hamden (U. Arizona) - TDB

Vendredi 8 février 11:00-12:00


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