SS433 and Microquasars

Microquasars are extraordinary objects that undergo the most extreme process in the Universe: accretion onto a Black Hole.

The microquasar SS433 is probably the most exotic object in our Galaxy. Along with its natural ability to puzzle astronomers and physicists, it shows wondrous properties such as: accretion flows, presence of a black-hole (or neutron star), accretion and excretion discs, precession, nutation and orbital periodicities, emission all over the spectrum and, most importantly, ejection of corkscrew jets of baryonic matter, everything enclosed in a really intriguing binary system surrounded by a huge supernova remnant.

Well, SS433 is the main topic of my Ph.D. thesis. My goals are mainly to study the companion star and the accretion processes going on in the system, by using infra-red telescopes in order to "see" further in the outflowing material, thus avoiding the huge amount of interstellar dust in between SS433 and us.

Latest publications:

SS433's circumbinary ring and accretion disc viewed through its attenuating disc wind
Perez, Sebastian and Blundell, K. M., 2010, accepted for publication in MNRAS [astro-ph]

Inflow and outflow from the accretion disc of the microquasar SS433: UKIRT spectroscopy [ads]
Perez, Sebastian and Blundell, K. M. 2009, MNRAS, 397, 849 [astro-ph]

Active/Starburst Galaxies Dichotomy: NGC4438

Active galaxies, meaning galaxies hosting a supermassive black-hole in their nuclei, are of extreme importance to galaxy formation and cosmology. Actually, it is their input into the intergalactic medium what matters. Impact of outflows driven by radiation from these "supermassive" black-holes are thought to hit (and heat up) the gas in between the galaxies, this should be enough to prevent the gas from condensing (cool down) and forming more galaxies. Can microquasars alter this picture?

I studied the severely damaged galaxy NGC4438 located in the very centre of the Virgo Cluster. It is not clear whether this galaxy harbours a supermassive black-hole or not. The other possibility may be a great amount of starburst in the core, hence the AGN/Starburst dichotomy. I began working on this project as an undergraduate in the summer of 2004, working with Dr. Simon Casassus.

Latest publications:

Near-infrared imaging and spectroscopy of the nuclear region of the disturbed Virgo cluster spiral NGC4438 [ads]
Perez, Sebastian, Casassus, S., Cortes, J. R. and Kenney, J. D. 2009, MNRAS, 400, 2098 [astro-ph]

I am also interested in:

Astrobiology is the study of the living universe. But, what is life? Chyba and Carol Cleland (philosopher) argue that the idea that one can answer the question "what is life?" by defining life is mistaken, resting on confusions about the nature of definition and its ability to answer fundamental questions about the natural world. Astrobiology studies the "life as we know it", meaning life based on liquid water, carbon, and a usable source of energy. Because carbon-based molecules and useful sources of energy are common throughout the solar system, the search for life in the solar system came to emphasize the search for liquid water. Life is dependent on liquid water because it requires an internal medium within which molecules may dissolve and chemical reactions occur (water is called the universal solvent).

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