Childhood Obesity Among Black Holes - on The Early Growth of Supermassive Black Holes and Their Host Galaxies

TYPEAstrophysics Seminar
Speaker:Benny Trakhtenbrot
Affiliation:Institute of Astronomy, ETH Zurich
Time:14:30 - 15:30
Location:Lidow 620
Abstract:Supermassive black holes (SMBHs), with masses reaching ten billions solar masses, are found in the centers of most galaxies, and their growth and energy release mechanisms appear to be closely linked to the galaxies that host them, making them central to our understanding of galaxy evolution. However, the existence of these extreme systems less than 1 Gyr after the Big Bang poses major challenges to our understanding of black hole formation and early growth. I will present our continuous, multi-wavelength observational effort to address this challenge. Our campaign focuses on some of the fastest-growing black holes, at z~5, and covers a broad range of physical scales and gas phases. The latest piece in the puzzle comes from our recent ALMA campaign. These observations reveal a high fraction of galaxy mergers among the hosts of the fast-growing z~5 SMBHs, but other mechanisms are required to account for the extreme star formation and SMBH growth seen in some systems. Moreover, the growth of the black holes and of their hosts may not proceed in tandem. I will briefly describe how upcoming surveys and dedicated facilities may resolve the earliest phases of BH formation and growth.