Astronomy & Astrophysics Seminar: The Hunt for Galactic Black Holes: From the Most Massive Stars to Low-Mass Stripped Stars
Tomer Shenar, KU Leuven
Many dozens of gravitational-wave events emitted from the merging of stellar-mass black holes in the distant Universe have been recorded by the LIGO and VIRGO detectors over the past three years. These detections have rapidly sparked an international "hunt" for stellar-mass black holes in our own Galaxy, and great effort is dedicated for studying their progenitors: the most massive stars. Two of the sensational reports of late include the most massive stellar black hole ever detected (LB-1), and the nearest black hole to the Sun (HR 6819). These discoveries, however, were soon met with criticism and contradictory evidence, which in turn has revealed the existence of a new, short-lived phase of binary stars. After a broad overview, I will guide the audience through the current state of affairs in massive-star research. I will present recent sensational reports of stellar-mass black holes in the solar neighbourhood along with new evidence that challenges these reports. Finally, I will tie this to current massive-star research and our understanding of the evolution of massive stars and binaries.
Seminar Organizer: Dr. Iair Arcavi