Past Seminars

MSI Faculty Jamboree

MSI Faculty

McGill Space Institute
Sep 12, 2017

MSI Seminar
Bell Room

Learn about the diversity of research that goes on at the McGill Space Institute.

Observing the Dynamics of Accretion Disks Around Supermassive Black Holes in Quasars

Mike Eracleous

The Pennsylvania State University
Sep 19, 2017

Astrophysics Seminar
Board Room (ERP 105)

The broad emission lines found in the spectra of quasars are a hallmark and defining characteristic of this class of astronomical object. They are thought to originate in dense (by astrophysical standards) gas that is in close proximity to the central supermassive black hole. The profiles of these lines and their time variability are now used as tools for a variety of applications. Examples include estimating black holes masses, probing the dynamics of the accretion flow, and searching for binary supermassive black holes. The utility of the broad lines as tools depends on our understanding of the structure of the gaseous medium that emits them, the "broad-line region." In this talk I will begin by summarizing what we know about the broad-line region and introduce some of the physical models that have been devised to describe it. I will then talk about projects that my collaborators and I have been carrying out in which we make use of the long-term variability of the broad emission lines. In one of these projects we exploit the variability of the line profiles on time scales of several years to probe the dynamics of the accretion disk that feeds the supermassive black hole. Through these studies we are arriving at a picture in which the accretion disk is massive and self-gravitating.

More about Mike Eracleous →

Fade to Black: The Origin and Utility of Changing-Look Quasars

John Ruan

McGill Space Institute
Sep 26, 2017

MSI Seminar
MSI Conference Room

The proliferation of wide-field multi-epoch imaging surveys has now opened a new window to the time-domain for discovery of new and rare time-variable phenomena. From these surveys, the recent discovery of ‘changing-look’ quasars poses potential challenges to our understanding of accretion onto supermassive black holes. In this phenomenon, luminous quasars suddenly fade into quiescent galaxies over timescales of just a few years, a factor of 10000 faster than expected. I will examine different explanations for the origin of changing-look quasars, and discuss their incredible usefulness in probing accretion physics, supermassive black hole feedback, and galaxy evolution over cosmic time.

MSI and Trottier Fellows Research Showcase

MSI and Trottier Fellows Research Showcase

McGill
Sep 28, 2017

MSI Seminar
Bell Room

Short presentations by students & postdoctoral fellows doing space-related research, supported by the Trottier Family Foundation

Download Poster (1.90MB)

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Kristen Garofali

University of Washington
Oct 3, 2017

Astrophysics Seminar
Bell Room

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Emily Rauscher

University of Michigan
Oct 10, 2017

MSI Seminar
MSI Conference Room

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Sarah Burke-Spolaor

West Virginia University
Oct 17, 2017

Astrophysics Seminar
Bell Room

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Kerstin Perez

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Oct 24, 2017

Astrophysics Seminar
Bell Room

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Christian Katlein

Alfred Wegener Institute
Oct 31, 2017

MSI Seminar
MSI Conference Room

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John Moores

York University
Nov 7, 2017

MSI Seminar
MSI Conference Room

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Fred Rasio

Northwestern University
Nov 21, 2017

MSI Seminar
MSI Conference Room

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Marcel Agueros

Columbia University
Nov 28, 2017

Astrophysics Seminar
Bell Room

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