ITC Colloquium - Karan Jani (Vanderbilt) and Catherine Zucker (Harvard)


Thursday, September 10, 2020, 11:00am to 12:00pm


  1. Karan Jani (Vanderbilt)  "Detection of Lite-Intermediate Mass Black Holes in LIGO-Virgo"

In this talk, I will give an overview of the 150 solar mass binary black hole merger that was recently announced by the LIGO-Virgo Collaboration. I will discuss the process that went behind inferring the astrophysical properties of this source. And will show the observing scenario of this new black hole population for the upcoming ESA/NASA space mission LISA.

  1. Catherine Zucker (Harvard)  "3D Dust Mapping in the Age of Gaia"

    Much of our knowledge about the formation of stars comes from observations of our solar neighborhood, less than 2 kpc from the Sun.  However, before 2018, accurate distance measurements needed to transform the 2D sky into a faithful 3D physical picture of stars and the interstellar clouds that form them were few and far between. In this talk, I will discuss how the rise of Gaia and large photometric surveys — in combination with new data science and visualization techniques — are quickly changing the landscape. In particular, I will show how 3D dust maps have received a huge distance resolution boost from Gaia, allowing us to resolve the 3D spatial structure of our local interstellar medium at large dynamic range (and on scales comparable to simulations) for the first time. On small scales, I will present a new analysis of the detailed 3D spatial topologies and thicknesses of local molecular clouds. And on large scales, I will show how many of these clouds are connected in a 2.7-kpc-long structure called the Radcliffe Wave, which redefines our understanding of the Local Arm nearby.
See also: Colloquium, 2020-21