University of Birmingham > Talks@bham > Physics and Astronomy Colloquia  > Imaging (and imagining) Black Holes

Imaging (and imagining) Black Holes

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Amaury Triaud.

Black holes are one of the most exotic consequences of 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 power some very energetic processes that can even influence the growth of galaxies. Furthermore, when black holes launch enormous jets of relativistic plasma, they can 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 (EHT), an Earth-sized array operating in the millimeter wavelength regime that can resolve the event horizons of two nearby supermassive black holes: the black hole in the active galactic nucleus M87 (published this past April) and Sgr A* in our own Galactic centre. I will put these recent results into context by explaining a bit more about the development of this project, as well as accretion onto black holes, and methods for modelling and interpretation. I will also present some of the areas where we still have major questions, and give some examples of the current cutting edge in modelling and interpretation, as well as challenges for the coming years that relate to black holes of all sizes, including stellar-mass.

This talk is part of the Physics and Astronomy Colloquia series.

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