Can black holes create new atoms?

Marshall University
Huntington, West Virginia
Raised of $5,000 Goal
Ended on 9/14/17
Campaign Ended
  • $750
  • 15%
  • Finished
    on 9/14/17



Seyfert 1 galaxies are a type of active galaxy whose black hole is completely or at least mostly visible from Earth. I chose this type of galaxy because its black hole and relativistic jets are visible, and because there is already experimental evidence of relativistic jets existing in Seyfert 1 galaxies. 

I will chose 4-5 Seyfert 1 galaxies from a larger target list depending on the time of year that I will be scheduled for observing. I will use the spectrograph on the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope to first take a large spectrum of the entire visible part of the galaxy that could interfere with our spectra, then I will take a sprectrum of the area surrounding the shockwaves and jets. I have to take a spectrum of the whole galaxy because light from the galaxy (and and heavy elements in the galaxy produced by supernovae) can interfere with the data I'm looking for from the background. 

Using a computer, I will subtract the spectra from the whole galaxies from the spectra of the area around the shockwave; this should leave us with just spectral lines from around the shockwave. From this, I should be able to determine which elements are present around the shockwave. Because the telescope is an optical telescope, I will not be able to determine the specific isotope of the aluminum or nickel (should I find any). If I find evidence of the existence of aluminum or nickel, then I will try to obtain time on an x-ray telescope, which can determine isotopes. The procedure on the x-ray telescope should be similar to that used with the optical telescope. 


The biggest challenge that I am going to face will be finding enough targets (or even one target) to observe. There aren't very many of the specific type of galaxies that I am looking at, and the biggest concern is that the time of year that I will be able to schedule for observing will be a time of year that none of the galaxies on the target list are in view. 

Another challenge is going to be interference from the background. The solution to this is to take spectra of the background and subtract it from the spectra of the area of interest, but there is always a chance that some interference will slip through. 


This project has not yet shared any protocols.