The Tidal Disruptions of Stars by Supermassive Black Holes
Tuesday 16 December 2014
to 14:30 at
James Guillochon (ITC Harvard)
The centers of galaxies harbor black holes that are millions or even billions of times as massive as the Sun. These black holes are directly orbited by a cluster of stars that occasionally sends stars on paths that takes them very close to the central black hole. If a star gets close enough, the tidal forces of the black hole can be strong enough to rip mass from it, and in extreme circumstances these forces can completely destroy it. I will describe in my talk the physics of tidal disruption events and how we are now observing them, and what their study can tell us about gravity in both the Newtonian and relativistic regimes.