Supermassive Black Holes and the Influence of their Host Galaxies

Prof. K. Decker French (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign)
Tuesday, November 17, 2020 - 11:00am

The evolution of galaxies is fundamentally connected to the evolution of their central black holes. The large-scale environment of the host galaxy's gas reservoir, star formation rate, and merger history affect the rate at which stars and gas can be accreted onto the central supermassive black hole. In response, accretion energy can regulate and ultimately drive the end of star formation in these host galaxies. The accretion of individual stars by supermassive black holes can be observed through tidal disruption events (TDEs). A disproportionate number of TDEs are found in post-starburst galaxies, suggesting a new connection between the pc-scale dynamics of a galaxy and it’s star formation history on much larger scales. I will present recent work on what the cause of the TDE rate enhancement during this phase may be.  Post-starburst galaxies are also the sites of possible black hole accretion feedback, as the depletion of their molecular gas reservoirs are delayed into this phase. I will present observations of the molecular gas state of post-starburst galaxies and discuss the implications for the processes which end star formation.

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