Public Science Lecture: Tidal Disruption Events, Jan. 25, 2019

Join us for another Public Science Lecture with Erin Kara, Ph.D., from the University of Maryland.

8:00 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Olin Engineering Building Auditorium (OEC118)

Dr. Kara will be discussing tidal disruption events and exploring how one star’s death gives life to a black hole.

In a galaxy, once every hundred thousand years, an unsuspecting star finds itself on a collision course with the supermassive black hole quietly sitting at the center of galaxy. The gravitational forces from the black hole are just too strong for the wimpy star, and it gets torn apart. We call this violent episode a Tidal Disruption Event, and since telescopes are continuously monitoring hundreds of thousands of galaxies, astronomers actually observe these rare events a few times per year. In this lecture, we will discuss what happens after this stellar disruption: how it produces the light we see through our telescopes, and what these events can tell us about how black holes feed and grow. In particular, Dr. Kara will present a cutting-edge technique called X-ray reverberation mapping that gives us a close-up look at Tidal Disruption Events. Just as bats use echolocation to map out the structure of a dark cave, we are using light echoes to map out the gas near the black hole.

You can read more about Dr. Kara and her work here.

Following the lecture at approximately 9pm, weather permitting, Florida Tech’s Student Astronomical Society will open up the 32″ Ortega telescope and have some smaller telescopes available for public viewing.

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