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Astro Seminar

Speaker(s) / Presenter(s):
Dr. Erin Kara (MIT)

Reverberation mapping black hole accretion flows

Most of the power from an Active Galactic Nucleus is released close to the black hole, and thus studying the inner accretion flow, at the intersection of inflow and outflow, is essential for understanding how black holes grow and affect galaxy evolution. In the past decade, we have had a breakthrough in how we probe the inner accretion flow, through the discovery of X-ray Reverberation Mapping, where X-rays produced close to the black hole reverberate off inflowing gas. By measuring reverberation time delays, we can quantify the effects of strongly curved space time and the black hole spin, which is key for understanding how efficiently energy can be tapped from the accretion process. In this talk, I will give an overview of this field, and show how extending these spectral-timing techniques to transient accretion events like Tidal Disruption Events and black hole X-ray binaries is helping us probe the formation of X-ray coronae, jets and other relativistic outflows.

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