Black holes come in at least two varieties. Supermassive black holes lay at the centers of galaxies and, while not theoretically predicted, have been definitively proven to exist using observations of stars’ orbits at the heart of the Milky Way. Stellar mass black holes are predicted to exist in large numbers - 100 million in our Galaxy alone - but only two dozen have been found, all in binaries.
Prof. Lu will present past, current, and upcoming experiments to hunt for the invisible stellar mass black holes and study how the supermassive black hole at the Galactic Center impacts its environment. These experiments utilize the power of the world’s largest telescopes equipped with laser-guide star adaptive optics to correct image blurring from the Earth’s turbulent atmosphere. Prof. Lu will also discuss how advances in adaptive optics will sharpen our view of the Universe for black hole research and beyond.
Speaker: Jessica Lu, UC Berkeley
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