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Astro Seminar

Studying massive black holes with light and gravity

Speaker: Elena Maria Rossi (Leiden Observatory)
Date: Wednesday 31 May 2023
Time: 14:00
Venue: N3.28/Zoom

Massive black holes are observed at the centre of most galaxies with stellar mass in excess of that of our own Milky Way. How they interact with their host galaxies is debated, and their astrophysical origin is unknown. In this talk, I will present my quest to address these questions by exploiting galactic nuclei phenomena, where stars are gravitationally ejected, or tidally disrupted to produce optical flares. My main goal is to discover and/or characterise quiescent black holes with masses similar to that of SgrA* or smaller. Since these intermediate mass black holes have accidentally been stunted over their cosmic lives, they maintain properties closer to their original ones: a nearby-Universe window onto the origin of massive black holes. Specifically, in this talk, I will first show how I am leveraging Gaia data to produce unprecedented constraints from ejected 'hypervelocity stars' in our own Galactic Centre. Then I will present my work towards fully exploiting current (ZTF) and upcoming (VRO/LSST) optical data of stars tidally disrupted. Looking at the next decay, my findings will inform the building of the data analysis infrastructure for the exploitation of gravitational wave data from the LISA mission, that will detect low-mass massive black holes