My name is Peter Boorman, a postdoctoral researcher at the Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague, Czechia.
I have a broad range of research interests that mainly revolve around the process of accretion onto compact objects. I dedicate a lot of my time to the growth of supermassive black holes billions of times more massive than our Sun. These black holes reside at the centres of every large galaxy, and I want to know how they grew to the extreme masses we see today.
Key Science Questions
See the projects below for more information about how we are trying to solve these questions.
- How many supermassive black holes are eating material in our cosmic backyard?
See my map of our cosmic backyard here.
- Are supermassive black holes scaled-up versions of smaller black holes?
- Do supermassive black holes grow by eating material from other galaxies, or themselves?
- How similar is the circumnuclear environment of accreting supermassive black holes?
See my accreting supermassive black hole schematic here for a definition of circumnuclear.
The NuSTAR Local AGN N(H) Distribution Survey (NuLANDS) is dedicated to finding out how many galaxies in our local cosmic neighbourhood actually host actively accreting supermassive black holes. Click here to see a poster all about NuLANDS that I presented at the 2021 EAS meeting.
Black holes can be described intrinsically by two parameters; mass and spin. Though multiple techniques have been identified for measuring black hole mass, only a few are currently used to infer spin. More information is coming soon about a relatively new technique for inferring spin of large samples of accreting supermassive black holes.
Green Pea galaxies are compact starburst dwarf galaxies approximately 5 billion light years from us. They are far too small and distant to resolve with current instruments, but X-ray detectors have found some Green Peas are approximately five times "over-luminous" in X-rays to what is expected from predictions. What could be powering such extreme X-ray emission in these sources?
Stellar mass accreting black holes are known to go through cyclic outbursts in terms of their accretion power and the fraction of that power emitted in high-energy X-rays. Could accreting supermassive black holes (~million times more massive) exhibit equivalent behaviour on much larger timescales?