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Uncovering the mysteries of black holes

Emeritus Professor Ken Pounds, of the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Uncovering the mysteries of black holes

Exploring for Supermassive Black Holes – University of Leicester Ken Edwards Lecture Theatre 1 – Thursday 12th March, 5.30-7.00pm

Issued on 13 February 2009

The discovery of massive Black Holes in the nuclei of many galaxies, including our own Milky Way, will be described at the University of Leicester on Thursday 12th March.

As part of the University’s celebrations of National Science and Engineering Week, Emeritus Professor Ken Pounds, of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, will be speaking on “Exploring for Supermassive Black Holes”.

Many galaxies are seen to have a bright, star-like nucleus which, in extreme cases, can dominate the light of the host galaxy. Observations by Leicester researchers with the Ariel 5 Satellite in the 1970s first showed that the nuclei in such ‘active galaxies’ are also powerful sources of X-radiation.

Subsequent observations with ever-more sensitive space-borne observatories have provided definitive evidence that matter falling onto a massive black hole is responsible for the enormous power of these active galactic nuclei (AGN).

Within the past few years X-ray observations have revealed another important property of AGN, where an 'over-fed' black hole will eject excess matter at relativistic speeds. This discovery is now offering an insight into why the growth of supermassive black holes and their host galaxies appear to be closely linked.

More info on National Science and Engineering Week events at Leicester: http://www2.le.ac.uk/ebulletin/news/press-releases/2000-2009/2009/02/nparticle.2009-02-06.7874595975

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