University of Birmingham > Talks@bham > Astrophysics Seminars > Extreme-mass-ratio bursts and supermassive black holes

Extreme-mass-ratio bursts and supermassive black holes

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At the centres of galaxies we find massive black holes of 104 – 1010 solar masses. These are observed to have masses closely correlated to the properties of their hosts’, suggesting a common evolutionary history. An exciting means of probing the properties of these black holes is with gravitational waves. I shall discuss a particular gravitational wave signal: extreme-mass-ratio bursts. These are produced when a solar mass companion orbits a massive black hole on a highly eccentric orbit. Bursts are an unexplored tool for gravitational wave astronomy. I shall explain how to calculate burst waveforms, how these may be used for parameter estimation, and the constraints they could potentially place on nearby massive black holes, focussing on our local Sagittarius A*. In the best case scenario, we would be able to measure the mass and spin of the Galaxy’s massive black hole to one part in 10^4.

This talk is part of the Astrophysics Seminars series.

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