Colloq Abstract - Fu

by Hubertus Intema last modified Feb 21, 2018 by Lori Appel

March 2

11:00am Mountain

 

Hai Fu (Univ. of Iowa)

 

Do Galaxy Mergers Trigger Active Galactic Nuclei?

 

Abstract

Merging is a key process in galaxy evolution: stars acquired externally are responsible for ~10% of the stellar mass in the Milky Way, and the fraction increases to ~60% in more massive galaxies like M87. Three decades ago, the first N-body + gas dynamics merger simulations have predicted that gravitational torques from tidally-induced stellar bars can drive large amounts of interstellar gas to the central kpc in a short timescale. The sudden gas inflow could fuel nuclear starbursts and even trigger supermassive black hole accretion in the central parsec. However, the key small-scale processes involved in black hole accretion remain spatially unresolved in state-of-the-art simulations, forcing the use of "sub-grid" models to track the growth. In this talk, I will present optical integral-field spectroscopy and radio continuum imaging of galaxy mergers at low-redshift. I will discuss how these detailed observations have shed light on the role mergers play in galaxy evolution.