Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences Colloquium

Monday, November 08, 2021 at 12:40

JILA Auditorium and

Bryan Terrazas, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

"How supermassive black holes shape galaxy growth"

A Pretty Image from the Talk


Substantial observational evidence supports the idea that supermassive black holes and their feedback suppress star formation in their host galaxies. However, since the exact form of this feedback and how it operates remains uncertain, simulations have not converged on a general model for black hole feedback. I will describe results that compare observations to several simulations in the hopes of constraining the physics of black hole feedback. First, I will show how the physics of star formation suppression is encoded within the correlations between black hole mass, stellar mass, and star formation rate in simulations. This analysis provides a testing ground for simulations and their large-scale galaxy population demographics. Further constraining these simulations will also require studying how black hole feedback affects the local gas within galaxies at smaller scales. As a step towards this goal, I will share ‘mock’ observations that model the light that would be emitted from a simulated galaxy with black hole-driven winds. By connecting the light we would see from a simulation and the implemented physics of black hole feedback, a clearer path can be made towards interpreting observations and testing black hole feedback mechanisms in models.


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