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Studying massive black holes with tidal disruption events

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Ricarda Beckmann.

Supermassive black holes (BH), which reside in the center of most massive galaxies since the dawn of structure formation, are usually surrounded by a dense stellar component. If, by chance, a star gets too close from the central BH, the former can be disrupted by the tidal forces of the latter, resulting in a luminous event known as a tidal disruption event (TDE). With a dozen of observations to date, and many more to come, TDEs will soon allow statistical studies of BHs and their environment. I will begin with a brief introduction on TDEs. I will then discuss the key parameters affecting the rate at which stars are disrupted, and how we can use the TDE rate to better understand the BH mass function or the typical stellar density in the vicinity of BHs. I will finally show how TDEs could contribute to the growth of BHs and the formation of quasars at high redshift.

This talk is part of the Institute of Astronomy Galaxies Discussion Group series.

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