Active Galactic Nuclei and Supermassive Black Holes

The group works on supermassive black holes in the centers of massive galaxies, and the powerful active galactic nuclei (AGN) and quasars that result when these objects accrete gas. Topics of research include the statistical properties of AGN, the interplay between AGN and the local and cosmic environment (AGN feedback), the cosmological evolution of the supermassive black hole population, and observable signatures of binary and merging supermassive black holes.

Eugene Churazov is interested in AGN feedback, the impact that the accreting nuclear supermassive black hole has on the thermal state of the surrounding gas. Eugene leads several research projects at the MPA to study the physics of the complex system formed by the back hole and the gas, using both theoretical methods and multi-wavelength observational data.

Massimo Gaspari studies AGN feedback, with emphasis on solving the cooling flow problem in clusters, groups and individual galaxies. The main mechanisms involved are mechanical outflows/jets, buoyant bubbles, shocks and turbulence. His key methods of investigation are 3D AMR simulations, suited to study compressible plasma physics.

Marat Gilfanov investigates prospects for diagnostics of the large scale structure of the Universe using aspects of X-ray astronomy, including the cosmic X-ray background and X-ray observations of AGN.

Alex Kolodzig analyzes X-ray survey data (Chandra, XMM-Newton) to evaluate novel methods of large-scale structure studies with AGN. Further, he works on theoretical predictions for the SRG/eROSITA all-sky survey (launch ~2015). A major focus of this project is to estimate the statistical properties of AGN and their potential to study large-scale structure (AGN clustering, linear bias factor, baryon acoustic oscillations).

Takamitsu Tanaka is interested in emission signatures of gas accreting onto compact and merging supermassive black hole binaries. Identifying such systems has applications for studying gravitational waves, cosmic expansion and dark energy, as well as the formation histories of galaxies and their nuclear black holes. Taka also studies the origins and growth mechanisms of the earliest supermassive black holes and quasars, and their influence on the cosmic environment.

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