Ena Choi: Understanding the Formation of a 10^9 Solar Mass Black Hole: A Simulation Perspective

Tuesday, 16 January 2024 3 p.m. — 4 p.m. MST

Gemini North Hilo Base Facility | 670 N A’ohoku Place Hilo, Hawaii, 96720, USA

Gemini North Talks
Ena Choi (University of Seoul)

Ena Choi Science

We are familiar with the existence of supermassive black holes (SMBHs) at the centers of massive galaxies. The M-sigma relation is well-measured for numerous galaxies, revealing the presence of many 10^9 solar mass SMBHs situated at the centers of nearby elliptical galaxies. While large-volume simulations successfully replicate these massive black holes, there is limited research on how SMBHs attain such enormous masses. The question then arises: How do black holes grow to be so massive?

In this presentation, I will delve into two projects that investigate the growth mechanisms of massive black holes exceeding 10^9 solar masses from a simulation perspective. The first project explores the connection between Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) activity, characterized by the rapid growth of SMBHs, and galaxy mergers. Despite long-standing beliefs that galaxy mergers could trigger AGN activity, numerous observational studies challenge this notion, revealing that AGN host galaxies often lack significant morphological disturbances. To address this, we employ radiation transfer techniques to offer a more 'realistic' assessment of the link between AGN and galaxy mergers, using hydrodynamic simulations as our foundation. The second project adopts a different approach by tracing the origins of all gas particles consumed by the black hole. This aims to deepen our understanding of how SMBHs form within the framework of our simulations. By focusing on the origin of SMBH's gas accretion, we closely examine the nature of what SMBHs accrete. We trace the complete history of all gas accreted by the SMBH, categorizing it into four origins: external, recycled, smooth, and early, and explore the significance of each.

For Zoom connection information, please contact Emanuele Paolo Farina (emanuele.farina_at_noirlab.edu).

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