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2/20/14 Stephanie Juneau SO/NOAO Joint Colloquium Series


Stephanie Juneau

The Fueling of Black Holes in Galaxies from Cosmic Noon till Dusk 

Galaxies have evolved dramatically over the last half of cosmic history. They have transitioned from an epoch of peak activity, forming rapidly both their stellar content and their central black holes, to the much lower level of activity that we observe at the current epoch. Alongside this steep decline of the growth rates of stars and supermassive black holes, there are now hints suggesting that interstellar gas properties have also strongly evolved across cosmic time. Such an evolution would imply a very different birth place for stars at early times, and a different fuel for black holes.  In this talk, I will address both of these aspects, including the implications for the main physical driver of black hole growth and ultimately, the galaxy-black hole connection. As I will describe, important clues can be revealed using spectroscopy to probe the physical state of the interstellar gas in galaxies. Namely, I will introduce new tools and techniques to account for both selection effects as well as genuine evolution, and present new results based on their application. This subject is especially timely in an era with ongoing and future near-infrared spectrography surveys, such as the JWST and Euclid missions.

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