Project B

Changing monsters: How do blazars change their power across the spectrum?

Paula Sánchez Sáez, Gabriela Calistro Rivera & Martin Zwaan

(email advisors)

Are the optical and radio variations of Blazars connected? Help us to understand the physical processes behind the variability in luminous super massive black holes, and to improve our understanding of the ALMA calibrators.

Blazars are some of the most luminous objects in the radio sky. Their power arises from growing supermassive black holes, emitting across the electromagnetic spectrum from the radio to gamma rays. Although blazars are characterised by their extreme variability, the origin of these variations is still an enigma in extragalactic astronomy.

In this project the student will investigate the origin of their variability, in order to identify and understand the physical mechanisms behind these variations, as observed in different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum.

In particular, the student will compile the most recent data obtained by two telescopes, ALMA and the Zwicky Transient Facility, for a sample of 6 blazars which are known for their highly variable radio and optical emission. Then we will investigate the variability properties of the sample, using different statistical techniques and analysis tools written in Python, in order to understand at what timescales these sources are more variable. Finally we will study the connection between the radio and optical variability of the blazar sample, and we will test whether we can predict their variability behaviours in the radio waveband from their optical variability. Understanding these connections will allow us to improve our knowledge about blazar variability, as well as to improve the use of blazars as ALMA calibrators.

#BlackHoles #Blazars #time-domain #astrostatistics #lightcurves #modelling #ALMA #ZTF

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