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Physics and Astronomy Finding massive black holes in dwarf galaxies

Theme: Waves Revealing the Cosmos

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Example Project: Finding massive black holes in dwarf galaxies

Faculty Mentor: Vivienne Baldasare

There are two general types of black holes in the Universe: “stellar mass black holes” which weigh a few times the mass of our Sun, and “supermassive black holes” which weigh millions or billions of times the mass of the Sun. My group is interested in searching for elusive “intermediate mass black holes”, which may live at the centers of very small galaxies and have the potential to answer questions about black hole formation and growth. Using data from a variety of ground and space-based telescopes, we hunt for signatures of highly active black holes in small galaxies. Possible projects involve comparing different diagnostics for identifying black holes, and studying the properties of galaxies found to contain black holes.