Universiteit Leiden

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Lezing | Oortlezing

Gulzige superzware zwarte gaten

  • Françoise Combes
donderdag 21 september 2023
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden
Groot Auditorium

Let op: deze lezing is volledig in het Engels

Greedy Supermassive Black Holes

At the centre of almost all galaxies, you will find supermassive black holes. These galactic giants are the biggest of black holes and have a mass a million times higher than the sun – or more. To grow even bigger, they feed on gas and dust that pass by in their vicinity, but they can also get a bit too greedy…

In her public lecture, Leiden Observatory’s Oort professor of 2023, Françoise Combes, will tell you about how black holes feed, and how, when they are too greedy, they can reject their food and what happens next.

After the lecture you are welcome to have a drink at the borrel in the Academy Building.

Registration is needed if you want to attend this lecture at the Academy Building in Leiden. The lecture will also be live streamed. To receive the link you need to register, as well.
To the registration form

Observaties: NRAO/AUI Compositie: Vincent Icke

Supermassive black holes

When a massive star dies, it can implode and become a black hole: a small region where gravity is so strong that it sucks in all gas and dust in its vicinity - even light can't escape its pull. Million to billion times more massive than these stellar-mass black holes, supermassive black holes lurk in the center of all galaxies. Around the supermassive black hole, the not yet swallowed gas and dust light up due to the massive gravitational and magnetic forces that superheat them, forming the accretion disc. When mass is accreted, the galaxy nucleus becomes a quasar.

Recent observations with radio telescopes combined all over the world have revealed more information about these accretion discs, and also about the extremely active and luminous jets they emit. In her lecture, Françoise Combes will explain more about these phenomena that are driven by greedy supermassive black holes and the consequences for a galaxy.

About Françoise Combes

Françoise Combes is a professor at Collège de France, chair of “Galaxies and cosmology”, and vice-president of the Academy of Sciences. She works at the Paris Observatory on the formation and evolution of galaxies, their dynamics and their co-evolution with supermassive black holes, as well as on models of dark matter. She has received several awards, including the CNRS Gold Medal, the international L'Oreal-Unesco award for Women in Science and the Lise Meitner Prize. She was elected member of the European Academy and international member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Oort lecture: a more than 30 year old tradition

The yearly Oort lecture, in memory of the famous Dutch astronomer, is organized by the Jan Hendrik Oort Foundation and the Leiden Observatory. The Oort lecture is intended for a wide audience with an interest in astronomy and is given every year by a prominent astronomer. This lecture will be the 33nd edition.


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