Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Queen's University
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Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy
Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Feeding the Beast: Supermassive Black Holes in the COSMOS Survey

Christopher Impey
University of Arizona / Princeton University

Friday, March 30, 2012
1:30 PM @ Stirling A


The Cosmological Evolution Survey (COSMOS) involves the largest contiguous region of the sky ever studied by the Hubble Space Telescope, leading to an image of 90 gigapixels containing 2 million galaxies spanning 10 billion years of lookback time. While the survey was motivated by galaxy evolution and morphology, the combination of depth, breadth and data across 15 decades of the electromagnetic spectrum makes it the best region in the sky for a comprehensive study of Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN). In this presentation, we characterise the "zoo" of AGNs in the COSMOS survey volume, their central black hole masses, and their fueling rates. To measure the accretion history of the universe requires a survey sensitive enough to snare intermediate mass "beasts" and those that are starved of food or fuel. COSMOS tells the tantalizing story of the co-evolution of galaxies and black holes.