Department of Physics

Department News

Atomic Gas around Super-massive Black Holes in the Youngest Radio Galaxies

Feb 20, 2009

PHYSICS COLLOQUIUM
DATE: FEBRUARY 27, 2009
TIME: 4 P.M.
ROOM: CURRENS 205

REFRESHMENTS: 3 - 4 P.M. (CURRENS 210)
(OPEN TIME WITH PHYSICS FACULTY/STUDENTS/STAFF)

SPEAKER: Esteban D. Araya, Jansky Fellow
National Radio Astronomy Observatory & University of
New Mexico


ABSTRACT:
Radio galaxies are among the most energetic objects in the Universe. They are powered by super-massive black holes that accrete material and drive large radio jets. In this talk I will discuss studies of a particular type of radio galaxies known as Compact Symmetric Objects, that are the likely progenitors of the largest radio galaxies. I will focus on very high angular resolution observations of atomic hydrogen toward the galaxy B2352+495, that were obtained with the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) - a radio interferometer with antennas distributed from the Virgin Islands to Hawaii. We find evidence for a velocity gradient in the atomic hydrogen consistent with rotation around a super-massive black hole. The results support the hypothesis that compact symmetric objects are young radio sources, and indicate the possibility of conducting high angular resolution observations of atomic hydrogen to measure the mass of super-massive black holes in the youngest radio galaxies. An overview of other of my research projects will also be presented.