Winds Around Supermassive Black Holes

Supervisor: Dr. Sarah Gallagher

Project Description (Abstract):

The centre of every massive galaxy hosts a supermassive black hole that grew as a quasar when the universe was a fraction of its present age.  While it is growing, the light generated by the material swirling into the black hole is so powerful that it can drive winds away from the centre of the galaxy at tens of thousands of kilometers per second. These winds allow material to fall into the black hole, throw enriched gas into intergalactic space, and impact the interstellar medium of the host galaxy.  We use sophisticated machine learning techniques and computer simulations to study the patterns in the light from these quasars to reveal the physical conditions that give rise to these strong winds.