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Ordinary Meeting: A multi-wavelength study of the impact of AGN on their host galaxies

Friday 6th March 2015 - 8:00pm
Topic:  A multi-wavelength study of the impact of AGN on their host galaxies
Speaker:  Michael Cowley, Macquarie University
Venue: Epping Creative Centre - 26 Stanley Road, Epping
Abstract:   An active galactic nucleus, or AGN, refers to the existence of energetic phenomena at the central region of galaxies, which cannot be attributed directly to stellar emission alone. Extensive local surveys in the radio, infrared and X-ray domains have revealed a substantial population of these active galaxies, which are now known to be powered by the accretion processes of supermassive black holes. This raises the question if the enormous amounts of energy liberated by accretion has any impact on host galaxies. In light of this, many galaxy evolution models now incorporate AGN processes and have been successful in reproducing key observables for the co-evolution of AGN and galaxies. However, a reoccurring suggestion that AGNs play a role in the quenching of star formation in blue disk-like galaxies and their transition to red-dead ellipticals, remains a topic of hot debate.

In an effort to help address this, we cross-match our near-infrared ZFOURGE catalogs with radio, x-ray and far-infrared sources to perform a multi-wavelength identification and investigation into the impact of AGNs on their host galaxies out to a redshift of z = 3.2. We compare the host galaxy properties (stellar populations, colours and morphology) of our AGN to those of a mass-similar sample of non-active hosts. In this talk, I will summarise my approach and present preliminary findings of the study.


Michael Cowley is a PhD candidate at the Macquarie University Research Centre for Astronomy, Astrophysics, and Astrophotonics. His research involves the study of active galactic nuclei and galaxy evolution using data from the FourStar Galaxy Evolution Survey (ZFOURGE), as well as the Chandra, XMM-Newton, Hubble, Spitzer and Herschel space telescopes. Michael completed his undergraduate studies at the Queensland University of Technology, achieving first-class Honours in astrophysics. His Honours thesis was on the detection, observation and characterisation of transiting objects via the Kepler telescope.  In addition to his research, Michael has a keen interest in teaching and outreach. He is a science liaison for CSIRO's Scientists in Schools program and has also prepared and delivered a number of lectures, activities and public talks in astronomy and physics.:

Event Date: 
Friday, 6 March, 2015 - 20:00
Epping Creative Centre, 26 Stanley Road, Epping NSW

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