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Astrophsyics

PhysCOS Science Goals

Understand the formation and growth of massive black holes and their role in the evolution of galaxies

The massive black holes (~109 solar masses) ubiquitous in the Universe today are thought to stem from seed black holes formed early in the Reionization era. The origin of these seeds is uncertain. They may have formed from either large stellar mass black holes (~100 solar masses) left over from the first stars or intermediate mass black holes (~104–5 solar masses) formed directly by the collapse of supermassive gas clouds. Whether supermassive black holes grow through mergers or accretion, their host galaxies appear to have co-evolved with them. A strong correlation has become evident between the properties and evolution of galaxies and the growth of their central supermassive black holes. The energetic processes around SMBHs result in huge radiative andmechanical outputs that could potentially have a profound effect on their larger scale environment in galaxies, clusters and the intergalactic medium. But quantitative descriptions of the interaction between massive black hole growth and galaxy growth are lacking. Understanding the formation of galaxies, and their subsequent evolution, will be coupled to intensive study of the evolution of supermassive black holes.


NASA Missions Study What May Be a 1-In-10,000-Year
Gamma-ray Burst

On Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022, a pulse of intense radiation swept through the solar system so exceptional that astronomers quickly dubbed it the BOAT – the brightest of all time. The source was a gamma-ray burst (GRB), the most powerful class of explosions in the universe. Read more.


PhysCOS News

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Program News and Announcements

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  • 23 March
    Physics of the Cosmos Activities at HEAD 2023 »  Details.
    23 March
    High Energy X-ray Probe Splinter Session at HEAD 2023 »  Details.
    23 March
    STAR-X Special Community Session at HEAD Meeting in Hawaii, 28 March 2023 »  Details.
    23 March
    ROSES-22: Astrophysics Decadal Survey Precursor Science Proposal Due Date Delay »  Details.
    23 March
    National Academies’ Space Science Week 28–29 March 2023 »  Details.
    23 March
    NASA Astrophysics Advisory Committee Spring Meeting 29–30 March 2023 »  Details.
    21 March
    Science Mission Directorate Budget Community Town Hall 23 March 2023 »  Details.
    21 March
    NOIRLab Call for Proposals for Semester 2023B, Including NN-EXPLORE Proposals »  Details.
    21 March
    Call for Proposals for the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility »  Details.
    21 March
    Arcus Probe Community Science Meeting 4-5 May »  Details.
    21 March
    NASA SMD Seeking Volunteer Reviewers for Research Proposals »  Details.
    6 March
    First COSI Data Challenge Released »  Details.
    6 March
    Stellar Intensity Interferometry Workshop 22–24 May 2023 »  Details.
    6 March
    Habitable Worlds Observatory hybrid workshop 8–10 August 2023 »  Details.
    1 March
    The AGN Vision Series »  Details.
    1 March
    ROSES-23 Released »  Details.
    7 February
    NASA Astrophysics Division Statement of Principles »  Details.
    7 February
    Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) Women’s Colleges and Universities (MUREP WCU) »  Details.
    25 January
    Upcoming Student/Postdoc Opportunities at NASA »  Details.
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