University of Waterloo
200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1
Phone: (519) 888-4567 ext 32215
Fax: (519) 746-8115
Chair, Astronomy Department, Harvard University
Several new techniques are currently being employed to probe the strong gravitational field in the vicinity of supermassive black holes. Long baseline interferometry at sub-millimeter wavelengths sets constraints on the silhouette of the black holes in the Milky-Way center (SgrA*) and M87. Stars which get tidally disrupted as they orbit too close to a supermassive black hole are being discovered at cosmological distances. Electromagnetic counterparts of black hole binaries in galaxy mergers are being identified, and can be used to calibrate the rate of gravitational wave sources. Most interestingly, the recoil induced by the anisotropic emission of gravitational waves in the final plunge of binaries leaves unusual imprints on their host galaxies. The talk will conclude by describing new constraints on primordial black holes in the range between the masses of the moon and the Sun.