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Dynamical probes of black holes in globular clusters

Abstract: 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-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 controversially claimed to lurk at 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 discuss various dynamical probes of the content of black holes and other stellar remnants in globular clusters: mass modelling, pulsar timing, and binary stars. I will show how comparison between dynamical models and recent observations can constrain the co-evolution of globular clusters and their black hole populations.

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Vincent Hénault-Brunet, Saint Mary's University

March 09, 2022
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm