Julie Comerford

A Systematic Survey of Dual Supermassive Black Holes: Probes of Galaxy Mergers, AGN Fueling, and Supermassive Black Hole Mergers
Contact information:
The University of Texas
Department of Astronomy
1 University Station, C1400
Austin, TX 78712
Fellowship status:
Starting year: 2011
Research Interests:

Some galaxies host two supermassive black holes (SMBHs) as a result of recent mergers with other galaxies, and the two SMBHs are known as dual SMBHs when they are at ~kpc separations. I'm interested in building a large observational sample of dual SMBHs, which I will use as observational tracers of galaxy mergers, SMBH growth during galaxy mergers, and SMBH mergers. I use a combination of ground-based and space-based telescopes to find the dual SMBHs that power active galactic nuclei.

Education and Outreach Interests:

My education plan addresses the need to teach young astronomers the skills to communicate science effectively. I have taught scientific communication classes for undergraduates, and I initiated a Texas Astronomy Undergraduate Research Symposium. The first Symposium was held at UT Austin and brought together 23 students from 6 universities across Texas to give talks on their research, and the Symposium will be held annually at rotating participating universities in Texas.