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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of Nevada Las Vegas
  • Daniel Proga
  • (702) 895-3507
Award Date:06/16/2021
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 270,006
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 270,006
  • FY 2021=$270,006
Start Date:09/01/2021
End Date:08/31/2024
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.049
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Collaborative Research: Understanding the limits of AGN feedback: a dedicated study of extremely high velocity outflows.
Federal Award ID Number:2107883
DUNS ID:098377336
Parent DUNS ID:067808063
Program Officer:
  • Joseph E. Pesce
  • (703) 292-7373

Awardee Location

City:Las Vegas
County:Las Vegas
Awardee Cong. District:01

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of Nevada Las Vegas
County:Las Vegas
Cong. District:01

Abstract at Time of Award

Part 1 In less than one century, our knowledge about the universe has shifted from thinking that we were in the one and only galaxy in the universe to realizing that there are billions of galaxies beyond the Milky Way; today we also know that most galaxies, if not all, harbor in their centers a supermassive black hole. Black holes remain one of the most fascinating objects in the universe, and while they are difficult to observe, one way to learn from them is through the effects they cause in their environment. Whenever there is gas around them, for example, these supermassive black holes can "activate" one of the most energetic phenomena in the universe: active galactic nuclei, of which quasars are the most luminous ones. In the past two decades, we have also learned that the masses of these supermassive black holes and their host galaxies correlate, but it is not known how the small central region and the huge galaxy around "communicate" this information to each other. One promising method is through outflows, material expelled from the environment of the supermassive black hole that can reach the galactic environment. Outflows can also provide crucial clues about the physical and chemical conditions of the black holes' environment. This project will allow the researchers to continue enlarging the sample of known extremely high-velocity quasars, study their overall properties as well as the most extreme cases in depth by using state-of-the-art tools, and use all of this information to advance the theoretical models that aim to show how these outflows can be launched from the supermassive black hole environment. Integral to the project is the goal to increase access, retention, and graduation success for underrepresented physics/astronomy students, to help diversify the future STEM workforce. To do so, the team has carefully selected best practices in recruiting and supporting students, providing paid research and outreach opportunities, and creating a supportive community. Part 2 A recently-discovered class of outflows, extremely high-velocity outflows (EHVO), may be key to understanding feedback processes in galaxies as it is likely the most powerful in terms of mass-energy: it seems to combine the large velocities of ultra-fast outflows and the large column densities found in broad absorption line quasars. If the preliminary results are confirmed, EHVO quasars might be crucial to determine the upper limit of observed AGN feedback signatures. The team will carry out a comprehensive study that includes (1) enlarging the known cases of EHVO quasars by applying already developed tools to a larger quasar sample, (2) studying the overall sample properties and the most extreme cases by using state-of-the-art synthetic modeling, and (3) computing synthetic spectra using disk wind models. They have tailored all of these projects so they can be carried out by the team together with 6 - 10 undergraduate students, helping train the future generation of scientists in both observational and theoretical quasar studies. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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