Seminar Series

One (disk) ring to rule them all: linking accretion from protostars to supermassive black holes

Speaker

Dr Simone Scaringi

Institute

Max-Planck-Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Candidate for the position of Lecturer in Astronomy, in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, UC.

Time & Place

Wed, 01 Jun 2016 11:00:00 NZST in Rutherford 701, Level 7

All are welcome

Abstract

From planets to super-massive black holes, accretion (the accumulation of matter on a self-gravitating body through gravity) is the process by which most objects in the Universe grow in mass. Accretion requires angular momentum to be lost from the in-falling material, usually resulting in the formation of a so-called accretion disk. Although the importance of accretion disks have been recognised for many years, the detailed physics and dynamics are still poorly understood. Over the last decade we have been able to link the accretion physics of stellar-mass black holes with those of super-massive black holes, with over nine orders of magnitude difference in mass. However, we do not yet know if the physics of accretion can be extended to include other systems, such as accreting white dwarfs, neutron stars, and young-stellar objects. Although seemingly different observationally, I will show how all these different types of accreting systems have revealed strikingly similar properties. Being just the "tip of the iceberg", the discoveries I will present suggest that a single unifying physical model exists to explain how accretion disks behave throughout the Universe, irrespective of the mass, size, or type of the accreting object.