Speaker: Dr. Vincent Henault-Brunet
Institution: Saint Mary's University
Title: The dark side of globular clusters and their gravitational signatures
Globular star clusters (GCs) have long been used to test theories of stellar evolution, stellar dynamics, and galaxy formation. In recent years, these old and compact stellar systems have emerged as fertile grounds to search for black holes and understand their formation, as well as to study star formation in extreme conditions. The detection of gravitational waves from merging stellar-mass black holes (BHs) by LIGO/Virgo has led to the suggestion that dynamical interactions in the very dense cores of GCs may be a prime formation channel for these BH mergers. Intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs; ~10^2-10^5 solar masses), possible seeds from which supermassive black holes grew in the early Universe, have also been suggested (often controversially) to lurk in the centre of GCs that survived to the present day. Other stellar remnants like white dwarfs are found in large amounts in GCs, and the mass locked in these objects can tell us about the formation of stars in these systems ~12 billion years ago. In this talk, I will present applications of dynamical models to probe the dark side of GCs, using observations of the spatial distribution, velocities and accelerations of visible stars to trace the gravitational effects of hidden black holes, neutron stars, and white dwarfs.
Host: Dr. Alison Sills, firstname.lastname@example.org