Physics student presents research at black hole conference in Berlin
Elon sophomore Aaron Summers presented his research on the energetics of the supermassive black hole in a distant galaxy at "The X-ray Universe 2011," one of the world's premier conferences on observational black hole research that took place in June in Berlin, Germany.
Summers, together with his adviser, physics professor Daniel Evans, used NASA's and the Japanese Space Agency's Suzaku X-ray satellite to obtain a detailed observation of NGC 6251, a galaxy that lies 300 million light years from our own Milky Way. His poster, entitled "An 85-ks Suzaku Observation of the Low-Excitation Radio Galaxy NGC 6251," presented a study of how material flows toward the supermassive black hole at the heart of the galaxy, and the implications this has for the production of energetic "jets" of particles that are launched from the vicinity of the hole at close to the speed of light.
Summers' abstract was selected to be presented following peer review by some of the world's foremost experts in X-ray astronomy and black hole research. The bi-annual conference, attended by some 350 astrophysicists, also included discussion on several upcoming satellite launches led by NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Japanese Space Agency.
Elon's Undergraduate Research Program provided partial funding for Summers to attend the conference.