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(Extremely!) High Velocity Outflows in Quasars

(Extremely!) High Velocity Outflows in Quasars

Monday, April 4, 2022 at 4:00 pm
Paola Rodriguez Hidalgo, Univ. Washington, Bothell

Quasars are among the most luminous objects in the sky. These very energetic regions lie at the center of massive galaxies and are powered by a supermassive black hole. While it has been found that there is a correlation between the mass of these supermassive black holes and the mass of the surrounding galaxies, the co-evolution of galaxies and quasars is barely understood. Outflows launched from the vicinity of supermassive black holes are a key piece in this puzzle, potentially linking the small and the large-scale phenomena.

We have discovered that some of this gas is outflowing at very high speeds (speeds between 0.1c and 0.2c). I will present a survey of these extremely high velocity outflows observed as broad absorption lines in Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data. This realm of the parameter space of quasar outflow's velocity has not been included in previous surveys of quasar spectra, and might pose the biggest constraints for theoretical models. Moreover, the kinetic luminosity of outflows at 0.2c is two orders of magnitude larger than those speeding at high velocities (~10,000 km/s). Studying extremely high velocity outflows can help us understand the interaction between the central supermassive black hole and the host galaxy, so I will discuss the characteristics and properties of the found sample, as well as the current and future studies our research group is carrying and planning out.

Bio: Dr. Rodríguez Hidalgo focuses on using spectroscopy to understand the Universe around us—from supermassive black holes in the centers of massive galaxies where accretion disks are formed to the atmospheres of extrasolar planets. Her study on quasar outflows has been carried out using data from the Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-Ray Observatory, Gemini Observatory, and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and other facilities.

Alden Bradley (grads)