Department of Astronomy & Physics


New Blackhole Flare Observations Support Lamppost Model

 
Blackhole flare

In this artist impression, the blackhole, the accretion disk, and the purple corona are shown. In sequence, the corona creates, along a jet, a flare of X-rays. Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Post-doctoral Fellow Dan Wilkins, working with Professor Luigi Gallo, from the Department of Astronomy and Physics at Saint Mary's University, interpreted X-ray observations obtained from NASA's Swift and Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescopic Array as evidence for the Lamppost Model that describes the topology of material around a blackhole that illuminates the black hole's accreation disk. The data suggest that the corona "surrounding" the blackhole first shrunk around the blackhole and then, through some mechanism that is not understood at this time, shot away material from the blackhole in a  pulse-like beam. The base of the beam/jet then appeared to collapse again around the blackhole. Their analysis of the observed flare links, for the first time, the behaviour and configuration of the corona and the jet.

Their results, [authored by, D.R. Wilkins, L. C. Gallo, D. Grupe (Space Science Center, Kentucky) , K. Bonson (Astronomy Ph.D. student, SMU), S. Komossa (Max-Planck-Institut fur Radioastronomie, Bonn), and A.C. Fabian (Cambridge)] will appear in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (arXiv e-print). Click here to link to NASA's website where this important discovery is described in detail.


 Click Here for Colloquia


News

ASTRO-H X-ray telescope
February 5, 2016
Luigi Gallo and ASTRO-H
UPDATED: Science reporter Ivan Semeniuk interviews Professor Gallo about the X-ray telescope for The Globe and Mail

Robert Thacker
November 21, 2015
Thacker is Science Champion 2016
Dr. Robert Thacker wins the 2016 Science Champion Discovery Award.

Blackhole flare
October 29, 2015
New Blackhole Flare Observations Support Lamppost Model
Postdoc Wilkins and Prof. Gallo interpret X-ray observations from NASA's X-ray telescopes as evidence for the Lamppost Model.

Alex Filippenko
October 17, 2015
Dark Energy and the Runaway Universe
What is the origin of dark energy? In the first MacLennan Memorial Lecture in Astronomy, Dr. Filippenko will explain.

Ritu attending Nobel Prize 2012
October 9, 2015
Oscillating Neutron Halo
The IRIS research team has recently observed evidence of a new phenomenon, the soft resonance in a halo.
Events
May
11
May 11, 2016, Atrium 101
Dust-obscured star formation at the Cosmic Frontier: New observations from the Large Millimeter Telescope
Dr. Alexandra Pope (University of Massachusetts)

Apr
8
April 8, 2016, Atrium 101
Exploring the properties of neutron-rich nuclei with Argonne’s ATLAS facility
Dr. Robert V.F. Janssens (Argonne National Laboratory)

Mar
11
March 11, 2016, Atrium 101
Real Life on Fake Mars: A Student Guide to Becoming an Everyday Astronaut
Dr. Ross Lockwood (University of Alberta)

Feb
12
February 12, 2016, Sobey 265
What can you do with a PhD in Astrophysics, outside Astrophysics?
Dr. Fernando Pena (Ernst & Young LLP)

Feb
5
February 5, 2016, Atrium 101
A day in the life of a clinical medical physicist
Dr. Justin Sutherland (University of Ottawa)