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Radio and X-ray Observations of Blazars

Supermassive black holes (with masses measured in the millions of solar masses or greater) are found in the nuclei of galaxies. As observed from large distances, some of these nuclei are quiescent but many-Blazars.jpgknown as active galactic nuclei -- are known to erupt on sudden timescales and become detectable across the entire electromagnetic spectrum over large distances. These nuclei emit jets composed of high velocity particles that may extend over thousands of light years. A particular class of active galactic nuclei known as blazars are observed with such an orientation that Earth-based observers peer directly down the jet and toward the central black hole. Monitoring observations of blazars that detect the sudden changes in brightness of these sources are essential in constraining models of the acceleration of particles in the jets associated with these supermassive black holes. Professor Pannuti and his students use the 21-Meter Space Tracking Antenna to conduct radio observations of a sample of blazars that complement monitoring observations made of these sources at optical, X-ray and gamma-ray wavelengths. They also analyze complementary X-ray observations made of these blazars as part of these studies.

Summary of Accomplishments of Astrophysics Activities

More than 40 refereed papers with Pannuti as first-author or co-author in such leading journals as the Astrophysical Journal, the Astronomical Journal, Astronomy and Astrophysics and Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.