About this Event
Zachary Weaver, CU '17, PhD Candidate, Boston University, Department of Astronomy, will present this virtual talk.
Among the most spectacular of cosmic phenomena are blazars, a subclass of active galactic nuclei with ultra-relativistic jets of high-energy plasma oriented nearly along our line of sight powered by accretion onto the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy. Blazars possess many extreme characteristics across the electromagnetic spectrum which are difficult to explain using this basic picture. Understanding the origin of and physical processes involved in the emission of high-energy photons is especially challenging. In this talk, I will convince you that we are currently living in a “golden age” of observations that are helping to unravel the mystery of blazars. Numerous missions and programs are currently running which monitor dozens to hundreds of blazars in a “multi-messenger” fashion, allowing us to combine photometry, spectroscopy, radio imaging, polarimetry, and high-energy particle detections to provide a holistic-view the physical processes in blazars. Such observations are occurring at a high-time cadence, down to 20 seconds in some special cases. I will describe several results that have come from these high time resolution observations and explain how this golden age will extend well into the future with upcoming missions. Finally, I will mention how small telescopes, such as the Colgate University Foggy Bottom Observatory, can still fulfill a unique niche in blazar monitoring.
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