PHAS Colloquia

Unraveling how black holes power explosive outflows: the time-domain, astro-chemistry, and micro-arcsecond imaging

by Alex Tetarenko (Texas Tech University)

Tuesday, 2 November 2021 from to (America/Chicago)
Speaker: Dr. Alex Tetarenko (PHAS, Texas Tech University)

Title: Unraveling how black holes power explosive outflows: the time-domain, astro-chemistry, and micro-arcsecond imaging

Abstract: One of the key open questions in high energy astrophysics is understanding how black holes act as powerful cosmic engines, consuming large amounts of material and expelling matter in the form of relativistic jets.  Determining how these jets arise and quantifying the energy they carry are important multi-faceted problems in astronomy, with implications for other fields of physics too. For instance, black holes and their jets can influence  large-scale astrophysical processes such as star formation and galaxy evolution, produce exotic particles such as neutrinos, and represent unique testbeds for gravitational physics. While great progress has been made studying super-massive black holes, stellar-mass black holes in our Galaxy are ideal test-beds for jet phenomena as they vary on human timescales, in turn providing a real-time view of how black hole jets evolve and interact with their environment. In this talk, I will highlight new techniques that I am developing to measure fundamental jet properties (e.g., size scales, geometry, jet speeds, the sequence of events leading to jet launching) in these stellar-mass systems, and better understand the complex relationship between the mass plunging into a black hole and the material that is jettisoned away via these jets. Additionally, I will discuss the key role that next-generation instruments (e.g., ngVLA, SKA, JWST, ngEHT) will play in driving new discoveries through this science.

About the speaker: Alex Tetarenko was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She received her BSc in Astrophysics from the University of Calgary, and she pursued graduate school at the University of Alberta, obtaining her MSc in 2014 and her PhD in 2018. Alex's PhD thesis was awarded the J.S. Plaskett Medal from the Canadian Astronomical Society in 2019 for the most outstanding doctoral thesis in Canada. Following her PhD studies, Alex took up an independent Fellowship at the Maunakea Observatories in Hawaii, working at the East Asian Observatory's James Clerk Maxwell Telescope. Alex has recently started a NASA Einstein Fellowship at Texas Tech University, where she is focused on studying relativistic jets launched from stellar-mass black hole systems in our Galaxy.


Join Zoom Meeting by clicking the link in the material below or

Meeting ID: 995 291 7599
Passcode: PHAS


Please also visit Department Colloquia webpage. Please find the link below more information.

Organised by Tom Maccarone/ AST