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Theses Doctoral

Stellar and gas dynamics in galactic nuclei

Generozov, Aleksey

Galactic nuclei are important for studies of galaxy evolution, stellar dynamics and general relativity. Many have Supermassive Black Holes (SMBHs) (with one million to one billion times the mass of the sun) that affect the large scale properties of their hosts. They are also the densest known stellar systems, and produce unique electromagnetic and gravitational wave sources via close encounters between stars and compact objects. For example, stars that wander too close to an SMBH are tidally disrupted, producing a bright flare known as a TDE. This thesis investigates the gas and stellar environments in galactic nuclei. In Chapters 2 and 3, we develop an analytic model for the gas environment around quiescent SMBHs. In the absence of large scale inflows, winds from the local stellar population will supply most of the gas. The gas density on parsec scales depends strongly on the star formation history, and can plausibly vary by four orders of magnitude. In Chapter 3, we use this model to constrain the presence of jets in a large sample of TDE candidates. In Chapter 4 we construct observationally motivated models for the distributions of stars and stellar remnants in our Galactic Center. We then calculate rates of various collisional stellar interactions, including the tidal capture of stars by stellar mass black holes. This process produces ~100 black hole LMXBs in the central parsec of the Galaxy (comparable to the number inferred from recent X-ray studies).

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Astronomy
Thesis Advisors
Metzger, Brian
Haiman, Zoltan
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
June 24, 2018