"How to find life on exoplanets: Challenges, ideas and adventures"
The first exoplanets orbiting in the temperate, Habitable Zone, have revolutionized the field of the search for life in the cosmos. With their discovery comes the question of how you can tell if there are signs of a life watching remotely. Where should we look in terms of wavelength, host star, planet size and mass - among many other.
"Fundamental Stellar Astrophysics in the Gaia Era: A New Understanding of Local Stellar Populations "
We begin with an overview of the precision stellar astrophysics enabled by the confluence of Gaia parallaxes with large-scale photometric and spectroscopic surveys. We then give examples of the new understanding of local Galactic structure that this has enabled, including in particular the detailed history of canonical star-forming regions, and the discovery of "stellar strings" reflecting the local conditions of recent star formation.
The formation of the first stars - environmental dependence and observational prospects -- The first stars formed a few hundred million years after the Big Bang, starting the transition from the Dark Ages to Recombination. They are out of reach from current and planned facilities, and we rely on numerical methods to understand their properties. In this talk, I will focus on the galaxies that the first stars formed in: minihalos. Two large-scale effects -- Lyman-Werner radiation and streaming velocities -- affect these formation regions. With my large cosmological, hydrodynamical... Read more about ITC Colloquium - Anna Schauer (U Texas Austin)
"LIGO-Virgo’s Biggest Black Holes and the Mass Gap"
Abstract: Models for black hole formation from stellar evolution robustly predict the existence of a pair-instability supernova mass gap in the range ~50 to ~120 solar masses. The binary black holes of LIGO-Virgo's first two observing runs supported this prediction, showing evidence for a dearth of component black hole masses above 45 solar masses. Meanwhile, among the 30+ new observations from the third observing run, there are several black holes that appear to sit above the 45 solar mass limit. I will discuss how...
"Finding an Alien Biosphere with Computational Chemistry"
At the edge of our present scientific frontier lies the question: “Can we identify the signs of life on an exoplanet?”. Establishing whether a planet is habitable, or inhabited, relies both on the observation of an exoplanet atmosphere and, crucially, its subsequent interpretation. This interpretation requires knowledge of the spectral behavior of every significant atmospheric molecule. However, though thousands of molecular candidates can contribute towards the spectrum of an atmosphere,...
I will discuss the exotic evolution of stars embedded in AGN disks, showing that in sufficiently dense and cold regions rapid accretion can lead to the formation of massive and very massive objects. These stars undergo core-collapse, leave behind compact remnants and contribute to polluting the disk with heavy elements. I will show that AGN stars can have a profound impact on the evolution of AGN metallicities, as well as the production of gravitational waves sources observed by LIGO-Virgo. AGN stars can also lead to the formation of short and... Read more about ITC Colloquium - Matteo Cantiello (Flatiron)
Gwen Rudie (Carnegie) "The Circumgalactic Medium of Star-Forming Galaxies during Cosmic Noon"
The exchange of baryons between galaxies and their surrounding intergalactic medium (IGM) is a crucial but poorly-constrained aspect of galaxy formation and evolution. I will present results from the Keck Baryonic Structure Survey (KBSS), a unique spectroscopic survey designed to explore both the physical properties of high-redshift galaxies and the connection between these galaxies and their surrounding intergalactic baryons. The KBSS is optimized to trace the cosmic peak...
Annalisa Pillepich (MPIA-HD) "The many diverse manifestations of supermassive black-hole feedback"
Feedback from super massive black holes is commonly invoked in state-of-the-art large-scale cosmological galaxy simulations to halt star formation in massive galaxies. In fact, no other mechanism so far has been shown to be capable of returning entire populations of simulated massive quenched galaxies that are consistent with the observed red sequence and quenched fractions. In this talk, I will use the IllustrisTNG cosmological simulations of galaxies to gain insights and...