Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences Colloquium

Monday, August 28, 2023 at 12:15-1:15 pm

JILA auditorium

Laura Blecha, University of Florida

"Supermassive Black Hole Modeling for the Low-Frequency Gravitational-Wave Era"

A Pretty Image from the Talk


Supermassive black hole (SMBH) binaries are extremely powerful sources of gravitational waves (GWs) at ~ nanoHertz to milliHertz frequencies. They are likely candidates to explain the evidence for a nanoHertz GW background recently presented by pulsar timing arrays (PTAs). In the coming years, PTAs will strongly constrain the SMBH binary population, and the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) will be able to detect SMBH merger events. I will summarize recent work using cosmological hydrodynamics simulations to constrain the formation of SMBH "seeds" in the early Universe, which will be key for understanding the LISA source population. I will also describe recent progress in modeling the dynamics and fueling of SMBHs, particularly in merging galaxies. These models enable new predictions of GW and multi-messenger source populations in this new low-frequency era of GW astrophysics.


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