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The Observability of Recoiling Black Holes as Offset Quas

Event Details

Event Dates: 

Friday, April 3, 2015 - 12:00pm

Seminar Location: 

  • CASA Conference Room C324

Speaker Name(s): 

Laura Blecha

Speaker Affiliation(s): 

University of Maryland
Seminar Type/Subject

Scientific Seminar Type: 

  • Astrophysics Lunch Seminar

Event Details & Abstract: 

The merger of two supermassive black holes (SMBHs) imparts a gravitational-w‚Äčave (GW) recoil kick to the remnant SMBH, and in extreme cases SMBHs may be ejected from their host galaxies. An accreting, recoiling SMBH may be observable as a spatially or kinematically offset quasar. Prior to the advent of GW detections, offset quasars may offer the best evidence of SMBH mergers, and indeed, promising candidates have already been identified. I will review this recent progress and discuss the future prospects for dedicated searches for recoils. Such efforts are currently limited by large theoretical uncertainties regarding how often offset quasars should be observable, where they are most likely to be found, and whether BH spin alignment prior to merger is efficient at suppressing large recoils. Motivated by this, we have developed a model for recoiling quasars in a cosmological framework, utilizing information about the progenitor galaxies from cosmological hydrodynamic simulations. I will describe the implications of our results for future systematic searches for offset quasars, as well as the indirect constraints that detections of such objects might place on the distribution of SMBH spins.